TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL LIVE EVENT DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY • NOVEMBER 2020 • ISSUE 255
DERMOT KENNEDY Live from London’s Natural History Museum
WE WERE THE SONG IN THE SILENCE…
PENDULUM • RTL 102.5 POWER HITS ESTATE • O2 ARENA RETURNS TO LIVE • NORTHHOUSE CREATIVE SOUNDGIRLS.ORG • PRODUCTION FUTURES ONLINE 2020 • CHANGING HATS: AUDIO ENGINEERS • PSA
NOVEMBER 2020 #255
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Let’s look to the future I’m writing this on Saturday 31 October and, like many of you I’m sure, I have one eye on BBC News and I am getting increasingly irritated by the phrase ‘next slide please’, while waiting to hear the inevitable announcement that England is going into another nationwide lockdown. It’s the last thing that most wanted to hear and, specifically for our industry, raises yet more questions of what the future holds as that dream end date from when events can return seems to be moving further away. Despite this recent blow, there has been a small glimmer of hope for some in the live events sector. As you’ll read on p58, a number of companies have been successful in their applications for the Cultural Recovery Fund. Following the announcement, PSA’s Andy Lenthall takes stock of what this could mean for a number of businesses and what we might be able to learn for this latest government incentive. Meanwhile, both Jacob and I have been speaking to a number of hard-working professionals who, against the odds, are still doing whatever they can to ensure that live music continues to survive. We are proud to present another collection of shows that have taken place in the past few months that push the boundaries of what is possible during these trying times. Starting with our cover story, where singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy traded in a standard live setting to perform under the famed blue whale skeleton in London’s Natural History Museum (p32). Keeping on the nautical theme, I grabbed some time with a number of Pendulum’s crew, who helped the drum ’n’ bass heavyweights put on an ambitious project – performing in the middle of the sea on top of Spitbank Fort. With a performance captured by a fleet of drones and static cameras, the three-piece didn’t disappoint. Finally, Jacob turned his attention to Italy, speaking to the creatives behind RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate (p40). Taking place at the Verona Arena for the past four years, organisers were determined to ensure the show went ahead in 2020, transforming an empty UNESCO-protected arena into an awe-inspiring broadcast event, which did not scrimp on production elements, with lighting, live performance and pyro aplenty. It’s fair to say that over the past few months, the calibre of what is possible within a digital realm has continued to expand, so we at TPi thought it was high time that we put on our own virtual event. Production Futures Online 2020 is now in the final stages of preparation and, from 9 to 13 November, we will be providing reams of content to inspire the next generation of live events personnel. There is no doubt that this is an uncertain time for the industry, but it will return and, when it does, we will need people to step up to the plate and join this global community. Finally, and in the spirit of looking to the future, all of team TPi would like to congratulate our very own Contributing Editor, Pete, who last month became a dad to a beautiful baby girl. We’re pleased to report that she has already been lending a helping hand with the proofing of this very magazine – looks like she’ll be following in her father’s footsteps in no time. Congratulations, pal! Till next time Stew Hume Editor
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EDITOR Stew Hume Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8385 Mobile: +44 (0)7702 054344 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASSISTANT EDITOR Jacob Waite Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8352 Mobile: +44 (0)7592 679612 e-mail: email@example.com
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COVER Dermot Kennedy courtesy of Jennifer McCord
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Issue 255 – November 2020
CHIEF EXECUTIVE Justin Gawne Tel: +44 (0)161 476 8360 Mobile: +44 (0)7768 850767 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Dan Seaton: email@example.com Mel Capper: firstname.lastname@example.org
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TOTAL PRODUCTION INTERNATIONAL is a controlled circulation magazine, published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited under licence. ISSN 1461-3786 Copyright © 2020 Mondiale Media Limited. All contents of this publication are subject to worldwide copyright protection and reproduction in whole or part, in any form whatsoever, is expressly forbidden without the prior written consent of the Publishers. Every effort is taken to ensure accuracy in the preparation of this publication but neither Mondiale Media Ltd, nor the Editor, can be held responsible for its contents or any consequential loss or damage resulting from information published. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Publishers or Editor. The Publishers accept no responsibility for the return of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, advertising materials or artwork. Total Production International USPS: (ISSN 1461 3786) is published 12 times a year by Mondiale Media Limited United Kingdom. The 2020 US annual subscription price is 117USD. Airfreight and mailing in the USA by Agent named Air Business, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Periodicals postage paid at Jamaica NY 11431. US Postmaster: Send address changes to Total Production International, Air Business Ltd, C/O WorldNet Shipping USA Inc., 155-11 146th Avenue, Jamaica, New York, NY11434. Subscription records are maintained at Mondiale Media Ltd. Waterloo Place, Watson Square, Stockport, SK1 3AZ, UK.
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Powersoft Supports Crew Nation The company continues its pledge to support Live Nation’s charity incentive.
disguise Launches xR Stages The firm brings the future of xR to London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
The O2 arena Returns to Live The venue enlists Hawthorn for Squeeze’s socially distanced gig.
NorthHouse Creative The design and production studio reflects on a series of lockdown projects.
Sonic Workshops Audio engineers create a mentorship platform for industry newcomers.
Soundgirls.org in Lockdown Monitor Engineers, Karrie Keyes and Becky Pell talk attitude and DiGiCo.
PRODUCTION PROFILE 24
Pendulum: Live at Spitbank Fort The drum ’n’ bass juggernauts take to sea for a livestreamed performance.
Dermot Kennedy: Some Summer Night Irish singer-songwriter performs live from London’s Natural History Museum.
RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate A lavish spectacle of human creativity and technical proficiency.
PRODUCTION FUTURES 48
A list of this year’s speakers and supporters of Production Futures Online.
CHANGING HATS 50
Audio engineers turn their hand to the rising demand for virtual experiences.
FUTURE INSIGHTS 54
The latest product releases.
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE 58
PSA’s Andy Lenthall delves into the murky world of funding and grant distribution.
INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS 62
The latest movers and shakers.
BACK CHAT 66
The Survival Tour rolls into Manchester.
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POWERSOFT CONTINUES ITS SUPPORT OF CREW NATION As Powersoft extends its donations to Live Nation’s Crew Nation campaign to the end of the year, TPi speaks to the company’s Brand, Communication and Trade Marketing Manager, Francesco Fanicchi, about the incentive.
In the early days of the global pandemic, Live Nation’s Crew Nation was created to extend a helping hand to the touring and venue crews severely affected by the sudden halting of live events. The fund – powered and administered by charitable 501c3 organisation, Music Forward Foundation – was kick-started by Live Nation contributing an initial $5 million and committing to match the next $5 million given by artists, fans, and employees. With its products being responsible for powering the sound systems of some of the world’s most renowned artists, Italian amplifier specialist, Powersoft decided to play its part by donating 5% of the proceeds from the sale of touring amplifiers to Crew Nation. Following a planned three-month campaign - which generated an impressive €48,437 - the company has now opted to continue the incentive until the end of the year. “It was around April when COVID-19 was in the acute stages of its spread that people became aware of the serious impact it would have on the live sound industry, as most major concerts, festivals, and gigs were cancelled,” remarked Powersoft’s Brand, Communication and Trade Marketing Manager, Francesco Fanicchi. In response, Fanicchi and his team came up with a campaign to support live music professionals. “We spent some time evaluating the right organisation to partner with, as there were many live music relief fund projects, though most were dedicated to helping the artists,” he explained. “We realised that Crew Nation would be the perfect fit for Powersoft, since the fund is aimed at supporting people who are in our sector and are completely dependent on live shows to survive.” Fanicchi was pleased to report that, since their initial email
correspondence, the organisers have been very appreciative towards Powersoft for extending this helping hand. “They have also been available and reactive in providing us with promotional materials, logos, imagery, and any useful guidelines to help maximise the visibility through media and our proprietary channels,” he stated. Executive Director of the Music Forward Foundation, Nurit Siegel Smith praised the substantial contribution received from Powersoft. “We are amazed by the incredible pledge Powersoft made toward the Crew Nation Fund and for the crewmembers who are the backbone of the live music industry,” Smith said. “Live music inspires millions around the world, but the concerts we all enjoy wouldn’t be possible without the countless crewmembers working behind the scenes. Their pledged donation will be instrumental in ensuring our crewmembers are taken care of during this intermission so they will be ready to work and enjoy the show with us.” Following the incredible result, Powersoft is looking forward to continuing the relationship with the campaign. “We want to continue supporting crewmembers during this extended intermission,” concluded Fanicchi. “We have many friends who have lost work this year due to the impact of the pandemic and we want to be at the forefront in supporting them. As an audio company that was born with touring products, we have a responsibly towards our community.” TPi Photo: Powersoft www.powersoft.com www.livenationentertainment.com/crewnation/ 08
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DISGUISE LAUNCHES XR STAGES disguise brings the future of xR to London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
disguise has launched three Extended Reality (xR) stages in London, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. The new stages provide a dedicated space for xR innovation and customer demonstrations, allowing disguise to present new workflows. The stages are equipped with disguise’s xR solution and a proven complement of LED displays, cameras and camera tracking systems to ensure successful xR productions. For its London and LA stages, disguise has chosen long-term partner ROE Visual to deliver LED panels that bring visual effects to life on large display formats, creating immersive experiences for performers on stage and audiences at home. “It’s a pleasure to have partnered with disguise on this fantastic project. We are pleased to be at the forefront of the ever-popular technique of virtual production and it’s great to have a fully functioning stage in the UK. I’m sure disguise and their team of experts will make a huge success of this growing technology,” commented David Morris, responsible for Business Development for ROE Visual in the UK and Ireland. The London stage opened in August 2020 and marked its debut with a visit from creative studio dandelion + burdock. The space affords EMEA customers the chance to visit a permanent xR installation and gives disguise the ability to stream demos to clients across the globe. “We felt very privileged to have been the first to come and play at the disguise London xR stage,” said Technical Director at dandelion + burdock, Nils Porrmann. “We were very cordially received, with the appropriate safety measures in place, and our support team was amazing. We used the setup to involve and condition our creative team to an ever more complex live production environment. We believe an all-team approach leads to better expectations management and smoother deliveries.” The London stage is fitted with a ROE Visual Diamond 2.6mm curved LED wall and Black Marble 4.8mm matte finish floor; Mo-Sys Engineering StarTracker, stYpe RedSpy and Ncam Mk2 for agnostic camera tracking systems; Blackmagic URSA cameras as well as a Barco E2 image processing system. The Los Angeles xR stage opened last year and has already been hosting demos and running events, including a programme for SIGGRAPH 2019 when guests filled the space to attend talks by key industry experts. The stage has also been used to prepare the setup for America’s Got Talent and by Framestore VFX studio for film production. The LA stage is equipped with a ROE Visual Black Pearl 2.8mm LED wall and Black Marble 4.8mm floor,
stYpe RedSpy camera tracking, BlackTrax real-time tracking, Blackmagic URSA camera and Barco S3 image processing. While still under construction, the Hong Kong stage is set to launch in Q4 2020. As a dedicated xR space in their primary APAC office, it will allow disguise’s Hong Kong team to offer customer service and provide 24-hour support to meet increased xR global demand. When complete, the stage will feature a Mo-Sys Engineering StarTracker camera tracking system, Blackmagic URSA camera, Panasonic UE150 PTZ camera – supporting 4K and FreeD protocols – and CreateLED panels. With the launch of rx, Renderstream and software release 17.4 there has been an acceleration of disguise customers wanting to run Unreal Engine content on xR stages, and these spaces will be available for anyone to come in and experiment with those workflows. With work underway to deliver the Epic MegaGrant brief – closer integrating Epic and disguise’s products – these spaces will also offer essential R&D and customer feature validation services to the Product teams at disguise. “Our stages will provide a space for xR innovation and support, opening up access to our user community to see and learn the xR workflow, try out content ideas and run customer demos. With our newly launched 17.4 software release supporting completely uncompressed engine-agnostic rendering, we are solidifying our position in the market as a trusted partner for next-generation virtual production,” said disguise CEO, Fernando Kufer. disguise users worldwide have started recognising the growing demand for immersive real-time production and have started working closely with disguise to develop their xR capabilities. Darmah is disguise’s first studio partner and one of the first to adopt xR to deliver spectacular immersive productions for Latin acts Ozuna, CNCO, Manuel Turizo and Daddy Yankee. “Our two dXR stages in Miami and Mexico City allow us to imagine, create, and deliver unique visual experiences to our growing list of clients. Artists are able to walk into our studio in the morning and leave later that day with their finished product, all done in-house, and a key component of that is because we have mastered disguise’s latest cutting-edge technology. The visual results are astounding, and the performances are inspired,” said Darmah Co-Founder, Rodrigo Proal. TPi Photo: disguise www.disguise.one www.roevisual.com 10
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THE O2 ARENA RETURNS TO LIVE In the build-up to The O2 arena’s first socially distanced gig on 5 December 2020 with South East London band, Squeeze, TPi’s Jacob Waite checks in with Vice President and General Manager of The O2 arena, Steve Sayer and Hawthorn Group Director of Hire, David Slater.
The O2 arena has announced it will host its first live music event after eight months of dormancy, with London-based band, Squeeze set to play to socially distanced fans on Saturday 5 December 2020. The announcement marks a major step forward in getting the UK live event industry back up and running following the closure of live music venues and ban on mass gatherings. Speaking to TPi following the announcement, The O2 arena Vice President and General Manager, Steve Sayer reflected on a turbulent eight months. “We have been effectively closed since March, which has been tough mentally and challenging to figure out a way through this strange time,” he reported. “We have had some moments to be proud of – the NHS transformed the arena into a training facility for six weeks during the pandemic for the Nightingale Hospital and we were pleased to be able to
provide them the space free of charge. We also opened up the arena to the public for Backstage Tours, which were a big success. However, many of the team are on furlough, and the existing team have been working around the clock to ensure we can, finally, return to live.” Squeeze’s socially distanced event will see The O2’s capacity reduced from 20,000 to 4,700, with a designated seating configuration in line with the UK government’s 1m-plus guidelines. Seats will remain empty between each group and one-way routes have been installed throughout the arena and concourse. “We have been working incredibly hard to bring back events at The O2 arena and put measures in place to ensure our fans will have a safe and COVID-19 secure experience,” Sayer commented. “At the moment, we’re only able to host under a quarter of our capacity, so this is not a long-term 12
THE O2 ARENA RETURNS TO LIVE
Vice President and General Manager of The O2, Steve Sayer; Hawthorn Group Director of Hire, David Slater.
solution for us or other venues and we continue to press the government for targeted support and guidance to get the live events industry and its supply chain back on its feet.” Currently sitting at stage four of Arts Council England’s guidance for performing arts, live venues and music (at the time of writing), the latest guidance permits venues to operate in a COVID-19 secure way with social distancing at the heart of the proposition. “We are incredibly confident that the measures we’ve put in place will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for audiences,” Sayer said, optimistic about the coming months. “The band are really looking forward to playing live and we’re confident that the event will sell out, which will be an amazing end to an incredibly difficult year.” To ensure the customer experience is contactless, all ticketing will use AXS Mobile ID via The O2 venue app, which also enables pre-ordering of food and drink as well as merchandise to reduce queuing with fast collection lanes. “This gig is only a small step in the right direction to building confidence with fans, promoters and artists and demonstrating to the governing
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bodies and Public Health England that events with fans can happen safely,” Sayer explained, acknowledging the pitfalls of the project. “We understand that it’s not a viable economic model, but our view at The O2 arena is that we’re trying to return to live and push the agenda for full-capacity shows, and we’ve got to start somewhere.” Sharing a storied history with Squeeze, Hawthorn, part of the global PSAV/Encore group, has supplied equipment for several of the band’s previous tours and performances. “It’s amazing to be working with them again on The O2 arena performance,” Slater enthused. “It’s the first live music event in the venue for eight months and it’s a major step in getting the industry up and running again, so we’re honoured to be part of it.” Hawthorn’s Concert Touring division is working closely with Lighting Designer, Daniel Bocking to supply lighting equipment to his specification. This includes a rig of Martin MAC Viper Profile, Claypaky Sharpy Wash and Martin MAC Aura XB fixtures. A Hog Full Boar 4 console is chosen for control, to be controlled by Lighting Operator, Martin Brennan. As well as supplying lighting, Hawthorn is also involved in supplying rigging equipment including Prolyte S52V, X30V Truss and Prolyft Aetos LV
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THE O2 ARENA RETURNS TO LIVE
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Motor Hoists. With video forming a key part of the tour’s production, the firm will supply 80 panels of GLUX LED. “As anyone who works in the live music and events industry understands, this is not just a job – it’s a lifestyle,” Slater remarked. “Our team is all extremely passionate about what they do, so with their industry put on pause for most of the year, it’s been a challenging time for many. With crew used to working onsite – often on back-to-back jobs during busy periods – it’s been a huge lifestyle change, and everyone has missed the camaraderie and buzz that comes from live events. It will be a great moment for the crew to get back to doing what they love.” Health and safety of clients, team members and suppliers, Slater said, are always of paramount importance. “We created a plan earlier this year to ensure our team members were ready for returning to work in the ‘new normal’. This included in-depth training programmes and new, enhanced health and safety protocols to ensure the safety of our clients, colleagues and suppliers.” The team developed MeetSAFE, a set of guidelines that address event formats, equipment packages, and recommendations that detail how to reduce risk, increase confidence, and promote health within the industry. “This included room design, traffic flow and technology considerations, along with enhanced cleaning procedures,” Slater explained. The O2 arena has purchased electrostatic foggers to deliver a charged antibacterial spray across the venue that will envelope all surfaces, providing protection for up to 30 days, with a heightened cleaning regime before, during and after the event. Visitors will only be allowed to bring a single clear bag into the arena and the wearing of face coverings will be mandatory, except when eating and drinking within the seats. The show will end by 10pm to allow fans to
leave the site safely at a distance. With the PPE in place, the response, Slater claimed, has been amazing. “Everyone wants to see the industry back up and running, so this is a great move in that direction,” he commented. “We’re saddened to hear about the nationwide lockdown at the start of November but we remain hopeful that the event will go ahead and that the industry can get back to doing what it loves as soon as possible.” Sayer concurred; he believes that the UK live events industry is truly “world beating”, and said as that as long as the UK government support the sector with a targeted support package for employees, a governmentbacked insurance scheme to build confidence with promoters as well as an extension to the VAT cut beyond next April, he maintains that there is a bright future on the horizon. “It’s going to be tough a few months ahead, and I fear for many venues and huge parts of the supply chain,” he said. “Big and small companies are going to be significantly impacted and that is where the government has to step up to protect this world-beating, world-leading industry.” Squeeze, who hail from South East London and have performed at The O2 arena’s smaller venue, indigo at The O2 arena, multiple times, were keen to be part of the project. “The O2 arena was designed to give artists and fans the best live music in the world and we look forward to doing that again with Squeeze,” Sayer said. “As The O2 arena returns to live, it’s fitting that a band from the area are the ones to reopen our doors to the public once again. The entire team is excited to see them on our stage.” TPi Photos: The O2 arena and Hawthorn www.theo2.co.uk www.hawthorn.biz www.squeezeofficial.com 14
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LOCKDOWN PROJECTS: NORTHHOUSE CREATIVE The video content studio turned digital show designers fuse augmented reality with visual FX amid the lockdown of live events.
Despite being best known for their video content design and direction exploits, following the ban on mass gatherings, NorthHouse Creative has spent the past seven months exploring new avenues. This includes virtual real-time technology, moving efficiently into show design and creating space for a series of lockdown projects – born out of restrictions faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the live events industry. “We had just finished Lewis Capaldi’s tour in March when the lockdown hit. From then, all the shows and projects in our diary gradually began to ebb away,” Creative Director and Founder of NorthHouse, Tom Bairstow began. “We’ve been fortunate enough that we can shift and adapt our work to suit the temporary virtual and digital era. I really feel for those who aren’t as fortunate in the events world. There is lots of talent going to waste so I hope that we get back to normality soon.” From an outside perspective, NorthHouse’s exploration into augmented and extended reality could be interpreted as far removed from the design
studio’s usual output with the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Little Mix and Coldplay live tours. Albeit framed by the immense challenge of a team working remotely, Bairstow assured TPi: “It was a natural progression. We use software such as Unreal Engine and Notch to a certain degree but with time, we’ve developed and reformed our capabilities.” Beneficiaries of NorthHouse’s diversified skillset was The Green Carpet Fashion Awards (GCFA). Organised by Italian fashion body, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and sustainability consultancy, Eco Age, GCFA typically presents a star-studded celebration of sustainability in the fashion industry during Milan Fashion Week. As with most live events this year, the Awards’ ethos of togetherness was put to the test by COVID-19, upheld by a revolutionary show designed by NorthHouse. The show was directed by Giorgio Testi and produced by Livia Firth and Pulse Films. NorthHouse provided a turnkey solution, incorporating cinematic footage with augmented reality, visual FX and hologram technology provided by AHRT Media, all of which helped transform a 16
historic Milanese opera house, La Scala, into a vibrant magical garden. “After we’d discovered that the most efficient way to fill an empty venue during the uncertainty of lockdown was to use augmented reality, our focus turned to ‘how do we make this digital content feel organic?’,” Bairstow posed. “We knew it was going to be extremely difficult to get ‘Hollywood-level’ visual FX with real-time software, but we wanted to see how far we could push it.” A prototype show, borne out of the restrictions and uncertainty placed on the world during the pandemic, Bairstow said the project provided the opportunity to push boundaries, experiment with “big ideas” and harness technology in new and unconventional ways. “With a virtual space, your imagination is the limit,” Bairstow reflected. “We’re really proud of this show and between my team, Eco Age, Pulse films and all the amazing creatives who helped to build this show, we have created something truly groundbreaking. We’re thrilled to be at the forefront of this wave of new technology and excited for what the future will hold for live and broadcast shows even with all the challenges ahead.” NorthHouse also designed the branding for the show along with the broadcast graphics, which ensured a holistic flow into the show design. “We came up with the concept of ‘terraria’ – a metaphor for the sustainable fashion industry – which provided a beautiful design aesthetic for the entire show from the title sequence through to the augmented reality and visual FX,” Bairstow explained. From the title sequence, a green carpet of foliage grows across the continents towards La Scala from a beautiful CGI glass terrarium with the world inside. As the green carpet dives into the Italian venue, there’s a transition into real footage, upon which luscious foliage grows in augmented reality, transforming La Scala into the inside of a terrarium. “It was a big step for us to move into the category of show design,” Bairstow admitted. “Thanks to Eco Age and Pulse films for affording us with creative freedom. We were using Unreal Engine in ways it hadn’t
Creative Director and Founder of NorthHouse Creative, Tom Bairstow.
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Working from home: Production Designer and Creative Producer, Harrison Smith; Lead Design and VFX, George Thomson; Lead Digital Artist, Florian Lecoq; Lead Motion Graphics Designer, Lydia Caplan; Key Digital Artist, Sean Bone.
been used, to our knowledge.” To create the augmented reality and visual FX, NorthHouse’s team of digital artists (pictured above) used Unreal Engine to give the show its organic feel. “We felt like digital gardeners, immersing ourselves in the 3D model of La Scala using VR and virtual plant foliage all around the venue,” he reported. “It was such a complex production process, and because it was a prototype, we couldn’t lean on any examples of prior knowledge, so it was a massive learning curve for us.” Filmed in early September, only a small number of presenters were able to attend. Other presenters were filmed in separate locations all around the world by Pulse Films and ARHT Media before being ‘beamed’ in as holograms or composed as though they were on stage next to their copresenter the whole time. “We made the decision to convert our augmented reality workflow into more of a visual FX pipeline, utilising the real-time rendering capabilities of Unreal Engine to facilitate a very tight post-production timeline,” Bairstow said, explaining why filming ahead of schedule was crucial. “This meant we could track cameras in post-production reducing the need for extra time in the venue for camera tracking. It also provided us with more flexibility for capturing quick and interesting angles throughout the venue and, of course, meant that we had a safety net if anything didn’t quite work on the day.” With such natural results, Bairstow suggested: “We’ve never had to consider bringing in holograms from across the world because you typically
fly people over, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show was a lot ‘greener’ because there were fewer flights taken.” Considering the sustainability of future shows and touring, Bairstow believed that considering ways of bringing people together digitally to reduce the carbon footprint was an “interesting” concept. “This situation has taught me to go big with ideas. We’ve gone from a sticky situation in the business to innovating and exploring new ideas. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put together more ambitious projects, with a live audience, next year.” The Green Carpet Fashion Awards was broadcast on 10 October across Sky’s European territories. The event featured a host of celebrities from the fashion industry and beyond, while Robert Downey Jr. presented an exclusive broadcast on YouTube globally. “We’ve enjoyed the entire experience of the show, from the initial concept sketches in April to September. To see the final product and witness it broadcast on Sky Arts was incredible,” Bairstow concluded. “We’re in talks with various shows and fellow creatives and production companies about many exciting projects. One thing that we really wanted to achieve with the GCFAs was digital content that felt organic. We’ve got lots of ideas to bring this to awards shows, tours, music videos and brand launches next year.” TPi Photos: NorthHouse www.northhousecreative.com www.instagram.com/northhouse__ 18
Sonic Workshops’ Danny Harvey and George Donoghue.
SONIC WORKSHOPS TPi chats to the founders of a new mentorship platform that hopes to give newcomers to the music industry a chance to network and learn from those at the cutting edge of the sector. Founder Danny Harvey explains more…
Since March, digital training and workshops have been made available in almost every avenue of the world of live music. There is no doubt that this plethora of resources has been of vital importance while the events industry has been on this extended hiatus – however, a common issue with these forms of content is the lack of immediate interaction. This is where Sonic Workshops comes in. Founded by Danny Harvey [Tour & Production Manager / Sound Engineer] and George Donoghue [Audio Engineer, Producer and Head Music Production at Waterbear, Brighton], the goal of Sonic Workshops is to build a community of forward-thinking, ambitious people from across the events sector to offer one-to-one online mentoring to those looking to follow in their footsteps. “It all started when George asked me to write a module on Tour Management from one of the classes at Waterbear,” stated Harvey. Following this entry into education, Harvey and Donoghue began to have conversations about the possibility of mentoring and the importance of giving young people first-hand information as they start their careers. The end result was Sonic Workshops – an online database of mentors covering a broad range of specialities, from music PR, to tour managing, recording, and live sound. Although the site serves as a resource for
up-and-coming musicians and bands, there is clearly a pool of resources for those wanting to get into the business side of the industry, too. In the past few weeks, the team have been in discussions with a number of FOH Engineers and LDs, who are looking to join the group of mentors to pass on their advice to those looking to follow in their footsteps. “The site gives people a chance to start networking,” explained Harvey echoing the old adage for success – “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Each mentor is available for a one-on-one chat, which can be booked on the site. The team have also now rolled out a subscriptions service which, for £20 a month, entitles you to a session each month with a selection of mentors or a regular chat with the same mentor. “It has been strange speaking to people and giving advice on tour managing during this time while we don’t have a date when we know that events will return,” admitted Harvey. “That said, to everyone I’ve spoken to so far, I’ve pushed the importance of being positive and reminded them that it’s important for people to remember your name for when events come back.” TPi Photos: Sonic Workshops www.sonicworkshops.co.uk 20
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SOUNDGIRLS.ORG IN LOCKDOWN Monitor Engineers, Karrie Keyes and Becky Pell discuss women in the industry, their preferred console setups and share their secrets to success.
Although they have never met in person, Karrie Keyes, Pearl Jam’s Monitor Engineer, and Becky Pell, Monitor Engineer for Westlife have developed a strong bond, thanks in large part to SoundGirls.org. Co-founded by Keyes and fellow Audio Engineer, Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato around seven years ago, the online platform supports women working in professional audio and music production by highlighting their success and providing a place for them to connect, network, and share advice and experiences. “Our goal was mainly to find other women in audio. We had been working in audio for 20-plus years and we were tired of people saying, ‘I’ve never seen another woman do this’,” commented Keyes. “So, we built a website and found other women, because we knew they existed! We offer support and guidance for people starting out and have amazing women blogging for us. We do workshops and meetups and it just keeps growing. Now we’re trying to figure out what we can do for our community in this time of need.” Keyes and Pell met online when Pell started blogging for the website and, while they haven’t been able to arrange an in-person meet-up yet thanks to their usually hectic touring schedules, the pair are united by their desire to promote women in the industry. “I didn’t realise there were many other women doing this,” Pell commented. “It’s fantastic to have this place where we can come together and support each other. It was hugely inspiring to me, and a bit of a fangirl moment,” she said of meeting Keyes. “Pearl Jam is one of my favourite bands, so to discover that the Monitor Engineer was a woman was really exciting!” A 30-year veteran of the Pearl Jam touring crew, Keyes’ biggest tip to any engineer is to be nice to your support bands. “Pearl Jam was my support band when I was out on tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers,” she
recalled. “I was asked if I would mix Pearl Jam for a 30-minute slot by the road manager. I said yes and we’ve been together since then. You never know what’s going to happen.” Pell added that the job of a Monitor Engineer is 50% technology and 50% psychology. When she started working with Westlife, technology was starting to come into its own, but was not as refined as it is today. “In their earlier days, the screaming level coming out from the audience was just nuts, like any boy band – very young girls with high-pitched voices,” she described. “Technology has improved and progressed since then, and the band have honed their craft. I can make them much more comfortable on stage now; they can hear themselves and actually enjoy the performance thanks to the improvements in technology.” However, just as important as the technology is trust. “It’s everything,” Pell added. “The band needs to feel heard. They need to feel that you’ve got their back because they’re totally reliant on you. We all have different ways of doing things and different modes of mixing. With Westlife, the guys just liked the sounds that I made, and we seem to click. So much of it is down to relationships and not assuming that you know what they want. It takes time to build that kind of relationship.” Both Pearl Jam and Westlife use a mixture of wedges on stage and in-ear monitoring, which makes for a more complicated setup. Both use DiGiCo consoles, with Keye using an SD5 and Pell an SD10, SD5 or SD7, depending on availability in different territories. “The SD5 has been amazing,” said Keyes. “I love the sound and the power it has, and I can set it up however I need it to be. I’ve set mine up pretty much to run as an analogue console. My main job is to pay attention to the band, so I pretty much have everything I need on the surface.” Pell added: “I like to keep things fairly simple, so I only use additional 22
SOUNDGIRLS.ORG Opposite: Monitor Engineers, Karrie Keyes and Becky Pell.
processing if it’s really necessary. I’m a big fan of getting the gain and want to be around you and continue to work with you.” EQ right, so I tend to use parametric EQs on the vocals and across all the She furthered: “It doesn’t matter what age you are and how long you’ve output mixes. I like the multiband compression and the dynamic EQ that been in the business – if you’re a pain to work with, people aren’t going the DiGiCos have onboard these days. The multiband compression is to want you on the crew,” concluded Pell. “This is particularly important very sensitive and lets me smooth out any slightly barking frequencies or when you’re starting out and you haven’t really got a lot of experience anything when they’re really belting,” she explained. behind you. Normally I’d be saying, ‘go and get your hands dirty and be very “The SD7 has been my usual package, but I agree with Karrie about the proactive in messing with equipment when you get the opportunity,’ but fact that we’re supposed to be looking at the guys, not at the desk,” she right now, that’s not possible!” continued. “I love the way you can lay things out however you want and use The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a massive impact on the them – and the fantastic processing power. I find DiGiCos very intuitive to industry as a whole, and both Keyes and Pell are feeling the effects. Keyes use and you can tailor them to your workflow and the way your mind sees spent the first month absorbing the situation and letting it sink in. things. That means you can look at that stage, Now, she’s looking at the logistics of rather than the console.” putting on large-scale events: “If the industry This is particularly handy, as both engineers were allowed to put on something big, if we have developed their own short hands with didn’t do it in a carefully, well-thought-out way, their bands. “Last time we were doing a run of with all the safety measures in place and there baseball stadiums, Eddie [Vedder, lead singer happened to be an outbreak, we’d be shut “The longer this goes on, the more of Pearl Jam] invited some baseball players to down for even longer,” she reflected. “We’ll joy there is going to be when the show,” reminisced Keyes. “He introduced probably start at a smaller level for a while.” me to a pitcher, or a catcher, and he was “It’s going to take time,” added Pell. “The we get everyone back together explaining to them that just like they have hand longer this goes on, the more joy there is going and have that shared energy of signals, that he and I have signals too!” to be when we get everyone back together and The overarching piece of advice both have that shared energy of live music… It’s live music… It’s going to be an engineers have for when the industry opens going to be an emotional experience for all of emotional experience for all of us up again is to have a good attitude. “Attitude us when we finally get back into that space.” is everything in this industry,” Keyes shared. TPi when we finally get back into that “If you go to work, you have a good, gungPhotos: DiGiCo space.” ho attitude and work as a team… If you’re www.soundgirls.org generally in a good mood, people are going to www.digico.biz Becky Pell, Monitor Engineer
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PENDULUM – LIVE FROM SPITBANK FORT To celebrate their first release in a decade, drum ’n’ bass heavyweights Pendulum present a streamed performance unlike any other. Performing in the middle of the sea on top of the famed Spitbank Fort, the band and their loyal crew push the limits of what a performance in lockdown can look like. TPi’s Stew Hume speaks to the team behind the high-octane production.
“So, I’m working on a Pendulum show where we have the guys playing in a fort in the middle of the sea.” In these COVID-19 times, this was certainly one of the more obscure messages I received from Production Manager, Mattie Evans a few weeks prior to the band’s ambitious performance. When he first mentioned the project, many of the details were still under wraps, but on 2 October, the band dropped the live premier of the performance, captured by a team of drone pilots and showcasing a truly jaw-dropping visual spectacle. With the cat out of the bag, TPi caught up with Evans and the rest of the team to find out how this production came to fruition. This year marked the first release from the band in a decade and naturally the drum ’n’ bass juggernauts wanted to make an impact to promote the new material. “Their management got in touch with me pitching the idea and asked me to start working out the logistics for taking a full rig out to a fort off the coast of Portsmouth – not exactly a regular job request,” laughed Evans, aware of the peculiarity of the job at hand. With the band also bringing on long-time Lighting Designer, Andy Hurst to create a design for the show, Evans recruited both Lights Control Rigging (LCR) and ER Productions to provide the visual backbone, with Video Illusions working as technical crew for the project. Director and Producer, John Paveley, captured the entire show using a pair of drones and an arsenal of cameras to create the high-octane production in the middle of the sea. Any production manager is used to coordinating a fleet of trucks from one venue to another, but with the only transport option to the fort being a boat with a just over a tonne weight limit, this was an interesting challenge
for Evans. “We had to break the load-in into different sections, which resulted in around 11 trips all told,” he explained. “This meant we had to ensure each supplier was on the same page and have the timing really set in stone.” And the strict timetable didn’t stop when it came to load-in. Due to the fort being located so close to a naval base as well as a major port, there was a lot of communication to all the various port authorities to ensure they knew exactly when lasers and pyro would be firing. “To say it was quite a logistics-heavy show is an understatement,” laughed Evans. The PM concluded by recognising the clear trend towards many artists opting for these “location shoots” to promote new material in this uncertain time. “It’s tricky for any artist bringing out new music in this time as the normal channel of promoting – namely touring – is not possible. This means they have to turn to streaming with either the band or label having to foot the bill. People are being incredibly money conscious, right now, which is why I think we are seeing more location shoots like Pendulum’s Spitbank Fort show,” he commented. “If you just stream a performance from an empty venue you are not necessarily giving the audience anything new, but performing in an unusual location seems to gain traction and therefore gives a greater return on your money.” ‘IT’S LIKE RIDING A BIKE’ Taking up the conversation was the band’s long-time LD, Andy Hurst who, with the help of a handy 3D model of the fort, was able to transfer the file into his wysiwyg setup at home and start crafting a design for show. “Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the original site visit, which made the 3D renders vital,” stated the LD. “The interesting thing about Spitbank 25
as a venue is that the top of the fort created a natural stage. It was different from a normal show with no audience; from the beginning, we knew the main shots would be coming from the drones we had on site. This made the pre-visual work I did very useful as I could design the show from the perspective of the drone shots.” While ensuring the show was visually impactful, Hurst was very conscious that he had to choose fixtures that would be able to deal with the extreme conditions of the Solent. “As the show was set for the end of September, weather was a huge consideration,” he stated. “As the performance area was so exposed to the elements, we selected a range of SGM fixtures that were all IP rated.” As well as the need for robustness, Hurst explained how the fixtures also needed to be easy to transport – flight cases were not an option as each fixture had to be carried up the several flights of stairs from the boat. “It was certainly an interesting load-in and the locals who helped us were not used to this type of show,” he stated. “During some conversations it seemed that the only other major show was a rave back in the 1980s.” Giving his thoughts on the load-in was Mike Oates of LCR, who complemented the hard work of everyone involved with this show, who “worked their arses off” to make it happen. He continued: “The passion of everyone involved was amazing. None of us had worked on a show for six months and getting involved with a project like this is what gives us energy.” Oates brought another two of the LCR team to help build the show with fellow owner Ryan Hopkins and Steve Bliss, the company’s main Project Manager. LCR already had a decent stock of SGM fixtures including P10, P5 and G4 Washes. “We also supplied the new G7 BeaST via IPS, which gave Andy the option for the bigger beam looks,” explained Oates. “The P5 and P10
worked really well as an architectural light as well as to produce strobe events.” Also on the rider were a number of Martin by Harman Sceptrons to provide some key lighting for the band. “One of the main issues we had to consider was the use of haze,” stated Hurst.” If we had put them on the top of the fort we would have had no control, so in the end we opted to put them right at the depths of the building so the smoke would rise slower, which meant we only lost it at 10ft above the stage.” The hazers in question were four Viper Delux Smoke Machines provided by ER Productions. During the show both Hurst and the SFX operator’s makeshift FOH was set up behind a bar on the top deck. This meant the LD was essentially “flying blind” during the show. “Normally for a project like this I would have a TX monitor to see what the director was cutting, but that was not the case here as the video team were shooting the show to edit later.” Not only was Hurst dealing with this peculiar setup, like many of his colleagues in the industry, he had barely touched a desk for six months due to the lockdown. “I have my own desk – an High End Systems Hog 4 – which I keep at LCR and I had that ‘dear God’ moment when I first got my hands on it again, worrying if I would be able to pull this off,” he recalled. “But it’s like riding a bike and it all comes back to you, although this has hands down been the longest time that I’ve ever gone without touching a desk. ‘ONE THAT WE’LL REMEMBER FOR SOME TIME’ As well as the unique location, the sheer amount of special effects that were deployed set the project apart from the majority of livestreamed productions this year. Special effects supplier ER Productions provided an arsenal of lasers along with a number of pyro elements, which produced some of the truly impressive looks of the night. Speaking of ER’s 26
involvement was Director, Ryan Hagan. “It was quite a short notice period on this one,” chuckled Hagan as he recalled heading down for a site visit two weeks prior to the shoot. Early on in the planning, with the fort being a circular structure, Hagan explained that there was always this goal of the performance being a 360° experience. His aim was to place lasers and SFX around the circumference, so no matter where the drones were, they would get a great shot. The laser package ER provided comprised nine Phaenon Pro30, 12 ER Laserblades and 10 ER BB4s, all controlled by BEYOND Server mode using ER Productions’ Workspace via a Roadhog 4. Meanwhile for flames, there were eight XL G-Flame and eight Pyro Positions, which fired a variety of hits from 60ft Mines with Tails to 120ft Ultra Fast Comets with Tails. With a wealth of knowledge putting on show in outdoor environments, ER is well versed in the various hoops you have to jump through, but even Hagan admitted that this particular performance was a challenge. “As we were shooting lasers up into the sky, we had to contact Civil Aviation, which is standard practice for us during festivals and other such events,” he stated. “The other main consideration with this show was that it was taking place right next to the Royal Navy base and naturally they were quite keen to know what we were up to.” With the aid of Evans, they communicated with the Navy what time to expected to use any effects and stuck to that time rigidly. Despite the show having a heavy electronic element, there was no timecode to speak of for the performance – a fact that the ER team were more than aware of having worked with the band since 2014. Along with Hagan, the rest of the ER team working on his show included Crew Chief and Laser Programmer and Operator, Tom Vallis; SFX Lead, Asher Heigham and Benjamin Bayley Cook. “The show was kept to a
bare minimum of crew,” stated Hagan, who explained that these smaller numbers made social distancing measures a possibility during the load-in. “Elements such as social distancing were incredibly easy to implement due to the size,” he reflected. Hagan was quick to highlight some of the extra measures that were put in place due to the location of the shoot. “On our first site visit, after a particularly rough crossing to the fort, there were certainly a few raised eyebrows as water was coming over the edge of the boat,” he laughed. “Not only were we looking at transporting some expensive equipment, we were also taking over flames that, unsurprisingly, don’t like getting wet.” The team at ER had to then work on some waterproofing solutions for the equipment before they made the crossing. Thankfully these measures ended up being just precautionary as the weather was relatively mild on the day of the show. “It was certainly a very different project,” reflected Hagan. “It was great to do a show, particularly in these times, in such an amazing venue with such a long history. It was one that we’ll remember for some time.” ‘WE ONLY HAD ONE SHOT’ The job of capturing the performance fell to Eager! Productions and was overseen by Director, John Paveley. Eager! had already worked with the band in 2009 for a multicamera shoot in Brixton Academy. “We’d also worked with Mattie Evans for another act he looks after, Jonas Blue, during his show on top of a 24-storey building in Shoreditch,” recalled Paveley, clearly no stranger to obscure settings for a live show. Paveley, and the Eager! team were first approached about the Spitbank Fort show in mid-August. The band’s management – Decade – already knew the location could lend itself to “something very different,” explained 27
Paveley. “The initial brief was to capture a spectacular 60-minute live set getting all that kit over to a fort in the middle of the sea on a series of small that would herald the return to the scene of the ‘Pendulum Trinity’ – the boats while running to a tight timescale certainly presented a challenge. latest three-piece configuration of the original members: Rob Swire, Gareth Not only that, but the Eager! team introduced another layer of protocol to McGrillen and El Hornet.” ensure to entire project was COVID-19 safe. He continued: “Their management wanted us to capture the scale of “We had our safety officer monitoring our crew all day and we kept this event on a fort in the middle of the Solent but, our team in its own unit,” Paveley explained. “As at the same time, were keen we didn’t lose the Director, I had to make sure those drones were in essence of the up-close-and-personal part of the the air constantly and satisfying the need for those gig the avid Pendulum fanbase would want to see. wides and closer overheads without stopping. We Thus, following the brief, we suggested the mix only had one shot at capturing this spectacle – and of camera package we then delivered so nothing those pyros… There was no re-record!” would be missed.” The Director described the GoPros as his “ace The package comprised two DJ Inspire x5s card”. drones, each with their own operator with an added He elaborated: “They worked beautifully in gimbal operator. The video crew also deployed “Once we were done with the amongst it all and gave us an edge that just having three Sony FS7s with operators and a locked-off drones wouldn’t have delivered. This left the rest of shoot, each one of the crew Sony A7S. Finally, adding some extra shots were the crew free to capture the guys on stage.” four GoPro Hero 7s. The last challenge was the super-quick wanted to do it all again... One of the major challenges faced by the turnaround of a 60-minute set for a broadcast date. We knew that we had production was to ensure flexibility on which date Speed was of the essence and Paveley and the they could shoot. Pendulum team worked for several nights to get the captured something really “The weather made a big difference to when the perfect film and audio mix. quite special, and seeing the gig and filming happened,” explained Paveley. “We The Director was quick to compliment the work had to remain flexible as a crew over a two-week of the other visual departments responsible for stream in full, it’s evident period. As it happens, the day boasted perfect creating the epic aesthetic. that we succeeded.” conditions – no wind and a beautiful sunset.” “The lighting, lasers and pyro design was Mattie Evans, Project Manager Like the other departments, the logistics of spectacular. It transformed the fort into a spaceship 28
in a black sea,” he enthused. “It was curated with the finished film at the forefront of the design. Andy and team involved us from the first recce of the fort, which was very important in planning our angles and approach. He added: “Following that, we were supplied detailed production plans on lighting and pyro setups so we could plan around it. On the day we were given a full pre-gig passes with lighting to get our hero close ups… We all worked as one team.” ‘READY TO DO IT ALL AGAIN’ “I think I speak for everyone on site when I say the chance to do this show really helped us appreciate the opportunity to put on a show like this,” concluded Evans. “Before COVID-19, during any normal year when you’d be travelling through 20 countries in a matter of months, you sometimes don’t have time to appreciate the work and what we get to do for a living. I know once we were done with the shoot, each one of the crew were ready to do it all again – which obviously can’t happen. But we knew we had captured something really quite special and seeing the stream in full, it’s evident we succeeded.” The show is available to watch on Pendulum’s YouTube channel. TPi Photos: Nocturnal Touring & Rooted Productions www.pendulum.com www.nt-rp.com www.lcr-rental.com www.er-productions.com
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DERMOT KENNEDY: ‘SOME SUMMER NIGHT’ – LIVE FROM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM Dermot Kennedy teams up with Paul Mescal, a band of socially distanced musicians, a string quartet and a choir to perform a one-off, multistage, live performance in London’s Natural History Museum – broadcast live to music fans in lockdown. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports.
Following the ban on mass gatherings in March, socially distanced performances, seated audiences and drive-in shows have been the order of the day. Diverging from conventional lockdown live offerings, Irish singer-songwriter, Dermot Kennedy joined forces with actor Paul Mescal to deliver a multistage performance, complete with socially distanced musicians, a string quartet and a choir. The technologically advanced undertaking was broadcast live from the Natural History Museum in London by Driift on 30 July – entertaining live music fans and providing an outlet for a talented production team amid the global pandemic. Midway through the build and rehearsals for Dua Lipa’s now postponed arena tour in March, Tour Director, Peter Abbott and Musical Director, William Bowerman formed Cermony London to produce a range of filmed live music performances. One of Ceremony’s first productions was Dermot Kennedy’s ambitious Natural History Museum performance. Working in close collaboration with Creative Director, Richard Sloan, Ceremony London oversaw the delivery of the project, liaising between the promoter, management, artist and each of the creative and production departments. “We wanted to find a spectacular, multiroom space that was relatively used to putting on shows,” Abbott informed TPi, explaining the idea behind the production. “The entire team has a genuine love for the museum, and for natural history, so it seemed an obvious place to do the show. We knew we wanted to incorporate spoken word and another performer; Paul and his command of the camera made for a very complete performance.” The Ceremony team revealed the ambition of the piece to management, promoters and the museum during a warm day in early July, while walking around the historic venue. “From there it was a case of Zoom talks through
the creative with each head of department, further site visits, revisions, budgets, risk assessments, hair tearing, faith keeping, rehearsals, and a very frantic day-and-a-half on site,” Abbott recalled. All the core team were on tour with Dermot Kennedy Stateside when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Determined to get the show back on the road, when it was safe to do so, Abbott enlisted the support of Dermot’s touring PM, Edd Slaney and SM, Rory Clarke. Technical support came from SSE Audio, Christie Lites, White Light, nlitedesign for video, ProCam, Fly By Nite and Executours for a livestream like no other. Catering was supplied by The Pantry Maid, working in COVID-19 guidance to deliver individual boxed meals to the crew. “Christie Lights were supplying a small control and floor package in the US when the tour was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SSE is the UK and European supplier and supplied the most recent tour. White Light is one of the museum’s preferred suppliers and worked with us to light the museum, and to help us stay within museum guidelines,” Abbott commented. “ProCam provided the film production and support staff; I’d worked with Director, Liz Clare at the 2019 EMAs and had talked to her in April about the possibility of doing something together once filmed live music was a possibility. As soon as the Dermot project came in, we had a chance to do something spectacular. Liz worked with Andy Derbyshire to assemble a wonderful team.” Drawing inspiration from fossilised giants, Victorian architecture, and an Irish whale called Hope, the ambitious event was pulled off in roughly four weeks. “I think everything is a little harder with COVID-19, but we were able to take advantage of having a completely closed museum, which allowed us a lot of flexibility and some terrifying dinosaur encounters,” 33
DERMOT KENNEDY: ‘SOME SUMMER NIGHT’ – LIVE FROM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Abbott reported. “Although of course everyone prefers performing to an audience, we wanted to create a unique reposnse to the moment, avoiding any lull in which the silence would be overwhelming.” The Event Safety Shop provided a comprenhsive COVID-19 protocol, implemented by Simon Carr and enforced by Kate Sinden. Temperature checks, suitable PPE, and an online registration and declaration process were implemented for everyone attending rehearsals. “We had a lot of space to work with, which helped,” Abbott noted. “Some measures taken included departmental bubbles as far as possible, reduced in-person communication and staggered arrival and departure times. Judit Matyasy co-ordinated the large production and additonal requirments. In terms of licencing, Gavin Bevan and Christina Wood at the Natural History Museum were incredible. We had no issues that were too challenging and worked within the framework of the venue’s usual events.” While in some ways the risk assessment was complex, in others, given the nature of the mitigations, Abbott believed that the experience of producing a performance during the ‘new normal’ “wasn’t too onerous”. He said: “The overwhelming efforts fans went to in connecting with their friends and family to create a communal experience was the best reminder of the power of shared experience, regardless of how it is shared.” Going live to air added pressure for crew and performers. “This was one of the most challenging but also most rewarding shows I’ve worked on,” Abbott said. “Working at home in London, even given the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed us to work with such an excellent group of professionals that in many ways this was more straightforward than some world tours.” As always, budget was a topic of discussion throughout. “It was carefully monitored and managed. At its heart, the show was very traditional and so
costs were well understood by the various heads of department.” Although not being able to have audiences is relatively new territory for Dermot’s team, curating live experiences for broadcast output is familiar. “Drawing on the right teams to deliver live-to-air events, and combining them with experienced touring crew and musicians, made the process a little hectic, but not impossibly stressful,” Abbott said, explaining that the most significant challenge was to adapt the structure of an existing live show to create a compelling piece of television with just a week of rehearsals and within an evolving budget. “By bringing together excellent, open and collaborative people on both the music and filming sides of the project, we were able to produce something really extraordinary.” In closing, Abbott described the experience as a “hugely enjoyable rollercoaster”. He concluded: “We’re currently working to put together some more streaming shows, promo and chewing over other ways to create live music experiences given all the barriers COVID-19 puts up.” ‘SUBMERGING INTO NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS’ Lighting Designer, Owen Pritchard-Smith worked closely with DoP Nat Hill and the visual team to translate the vision of Dermot Kennedy and his team through the lens. “Dermot is extremely good at conveying his ideas and thoughts regarding overall aesthetics and direction, trusting his team to use their knowledge, creativity and experience to translate that into the show,” Pritchard-Smith explained. “Something that is very prevalent in Dermot’s music, and our live shows is the passing of time; day, night, sunrise and sunset. Representing this through lighting is something we always strive for,” he noted. “Most colour schemes generally follow an overall arc of time over the course of the 34
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DERMOT KENNEDY: ‘SOME SUMMER NIGHT’ – LIVE FROM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
show and in some cases an individual song. These temporal differences are synonymous with nature and its beauty – another strong theme in Dermot’s music – and a driving factor for the choice of venue.” The show was built to reach a crescendo, adding more musicians as the performing artist cycled through his back catalogue. “We supported this with the lighting, keeping smaller and more static looks in the first two acts, and the third opening with bigger states and increased architectural depth,” Pritchard-Smith regaled TPi with a colourful account. “Just as the beginning, the end of the show drops right back down to Dermot on his own, isolated in the middle of the hall, shadowed by the whale, and their immense architectural and natural beauties, respectively.” Delighted to be back onsite, Pritchard-Smith praised the tour’s technical suppliers. “Andy Strachan from Christie Lites supplies the tour for me; we have worked together on other projects so there is a very good relationship there. They are great at ensuring the seamless transition and continuity of packages across the Atlantic. Dave Moorcroft is our Chief LX and I have known him for years, which makes our onsite experience extremely smooth.” The LD’s traditional touring setup comprised a pair of MA Lighting grandMA3 light consoles run on grandMA2 software. For this show, Pritchard-Smith upgraded the main console to a full size to add more faders to keep access to key and broadcast lighting on hand. “It was a little tight in our socially distanced gallery, but we made it work,” he explained, adding that due to the limited rehearsal time, everything needed to be flexible, allowing him to react in real time. “For this reason, and to eradicate needless points of failure, I decided to not use
timecode and operated the show manually. Programming was done offline using my own capture suite, with a console provided by Christie Lites.” One of the main briefs for the project was to retain the live gig element. To aid this, the LD kept the bulk of the lighting synonymous with the artist’s touring rig, relying heavily on GLP impression X4 Bar 20s and JDC1s. The postponed tour was to mark the arrival of newly deployed Martin by Harman ERA 800 Performance fixtures on the lighting rig, having upgraded from Vipers. “They certainly gave a desired punch through the rest of the rig,” he remarked. White Light provided architectural lighting and balcony lighting with ETC Source Fours for key light and Martin by Harman MAC Auras for backlight, with broadcast lighting for the B and C stages provided by ProCam. The LD dubbed the addition of Astera LED Titan Tubes as an “absolute go-to” with broadcast, waxing lyrical about the fixture’s output and flexibility as camera candy and practical light sources. One of the main challenges, Pritchard-Smith said, was achieving a balance between live gig and broadcast, within the constraints of a museum. The inability to rig anything more than a few boom arms on the balconies due to time and building restrictions meant that a floor-packageheavy show was required. “We had to ensure that at every part of the show we were using the building and its architecture to the max; from singularly lit display cabinets, and uplit dinosaurs, to squeezing the last bit of natural light through stained glass windows, every part of the museum tells a story. I love making long transitions – sunrises and sunsets are a favourite for submerging Dermot into natural environments,” he noted. “The whale speaks for itself!” 36
DERMOT KENNEDY: ‘SOME SUMMER NIGHT’ – LIVE FROM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
Marking the LD’s only onsite work since the tour was cut short in March, Pritchard-Smith summed up his experience. “Being back with most of the normal touring party was pretty emotional. When you spend months on end working and living together, to then unexpectedly part ways for an unknown period can be quite difficult,” he said. “It is incredibly important for both audiences and artists to be able to experience something as close as possible to live shows now. Livestreamed performances and gigs with high production values allow audiences to continue to enjoy watching, and to connect with artists and their music during these times,” he added. “The show was brilliant to be part of; the reactions have been incredible, and it was great to be back with the team again. I really hope that we can make these experiences happen in venues with live audiences again soon.”
Lawson, who was self-isolating in the US, had to deal with a lot more mixes than the touring show, both for musicians and technical crew. Dermot had requested that Lawson be involved in the project as much as possible regardless of geographical restrictions, which led the audio team to discover and utilise the Audiomovers application. “Audiomovers is a high-quality, lossless, low-latency internet transmission plugin for your DAW, enabling transmission of audio back and forth over the internet from one location to another,” Lawson explained. Utilising Audiomovers, Cerutti and Lawson were able to talk to each other in real time during rehearsals, as well as Lawson having a talkback mic to Dermot and the band and being able to listen in on the PFL bus and Dermot’s mix. “This was a great tool for smoothing the transition between engineers, allowing the artist to feel comfortable and for Alex to have a real time sounding board for any questions he might have. I would certainly recommend this to anyone in a similar situation,” Lawson said. “This was my first show with Dermot,” Cerutti said, joining the conversation. “I have worked with a number of artists on the same management company as Dermot and, having known Simon and Will for a long time, it worked out well,” he added. “Like everyone in the touring industry, I have been missing work a lot and was incredibly grateful to be involved. What was particularly gratifying about this post was working with talented people that I have known for a long time and an artist and band who were easy to work with.” Both monitors and FOH used DiGiCo SD5s with an analogue split into two SD racks each, loaded with 32-bit cards. A third desk and SD11i was used by Andy Scarth, who mixed Paul Mescal’s spoken word mics, sound
‘RELIEF FROM THE ISOLATION OF LOCKDOWN’ The audio package for the Natural History Museum livestream was larger than the team’s typical touring package. FOH Engineer, Will Donbavand explained: “Monitor Engineer, Simon Lawson and I have used a DiGiCo packing in some form or other from January 2018. Normally, we share one DiGiCo SD rack with an SD12-96 each, but the channel count for this, given the string section, backing vocalists, Paul Mescal’s mics and ambient mics, an expanded solution was called for.” Firstly, due to the additional channels and different sounding rooms that A and B stage were in, Donbavand needed to be able to access everything quickly, so a bigger work surface was required. In the same respect, Monitor Engineer, Alex Cerutti, who was covering for Simon 37
DERMOT KENNEDY: ‘SOME SUMMER NIGHT’ – LIVE FROM NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
effects and the final mastering chain. “My mix went to Andy and then he sent out a mastered mix, for which he used a Smart C2, a Manley Massive Passive and a TC Electronic M6000 for limiting and metering. Taking these extra elements out of my hands took additional pressure off me, and it undoubtedly improved the final sound of the show,” Donbavand explained. “Bringing in someone that I trusted with my mix meant I didn’t need to stress if my mix was being EQ’d or compressed in a way I didn’t like. Andy is a great person to ask for advice as his experience and knowledge in a live broadcast environment is vast.” Cerutti chimed in: “Thankfully, there was a good amount of room at the Natural History Museum. On the camera left side of the main room there were a number of rooms and corridors where we split up the monitor and broadcast systems relying on longer than average cable lengths to tie everything together.” Donbavand’s FOH rig featured a UAD Live Rack, which was used on Dermot and Paul’s vocals, on a “music bus” and the final mix bus – supplied by Tom Waterman and Universal Audio, who the engineer said had both been “super supportive” over the past few years. Cerutti and Donbavand harnessed ProTools rigs to record rehearsals and the show multi tracks for backup. The IEMs were Shure PSM1000, vocal mics used Sennheiser 6000 series transmitters and receivers. While the strings players all played Bridge Instruments with Shure Axient Digital. Two-thirds of the performance took place in the museum’s main hall, which has a natural reverb of just under seven seconds – something the engineer said was “not the best for live drums”, but managed to work around this using room mics more for some sections, such as the acapella songs and the less reverberant B stage area. “During the main band performances, the ambient mics were quite tucked, however, during the gaps of silence, you could hear this reverb tail sang out,” the engineer added. “Despite being so long, it sounded quite musical.” As the internal walls of the museum are so thick, not to mention dealing with many areas needing RF coverage, the venue added additional problems. Donbavand praised RF Tech, Sapna Patel and Rob Cook, who
deployed a “faultless” package. Rounding up a positive return to work, the engineer said: “I hope when we’re able to, the DK team can reunite to put on the shows that have been postponed this year. It really is a wonderful bunch of people to experience life with. Until then, I’ll be mixing whatever I can, running and sleeping for eight hours a night while I still can.” A key player in getting the livestream off the ground, Donbavand was involved in the early technical planning stages, working with SSE Audio to help overcome the obstacles presented by the venue and COVID-19. “Massive thanks to Jamie Tinsley for additional recording and tech during the rehearsals and show. As well as Dan Bennett at SSE Audio along with Phil Collins, Stef Phillips and Keith Sujeen, who helped Rob prepare the show in very little time and while much of the workforce was furloughed,” he added. “Also, thanks to Marcus Blight for the extra RF assistance. None of this could have happened without them, and it goes without saying that there were so many more people outside of the audio team that made this show.” Lawson concluded: “Over the past two-and-a-half years, it’s been a real pleasure to work with everyone in the Dermot camp. It feels like a real touring family sharing milestone experiences all along the way with talented people who thoroughly deserve all the credit and recognition coming their way. Hearing everyone’s voices and chatting to people during rehearsals was well needed relief from the isolation of lockdown.” TPi Photos: Jennifer McCord www.dermotkennedy.com www.nhm.ac.uk www.sseaudio.com www.christielites.com www.whitelight.ltd.uk www.nlitedesign.co.uk www.procam.tv www.flybynite.co.uk www.executours.co.uk 38
L E D s o lu t io n s fo r
V ir t u a l s t u d io s
P ic tu re b y : F a b e r A u d io v is u a ls
A r e w e t o w i t n e s s t h e e n d o f t h e g r e e n -s c r e e n e r a ? L E D p a n e ls a re th e id e a l s o lu tio n to p o r tra y s e t a n d b a c kg ro u n d s c re a te d in v ir tu a l re a lit y. C re a tin g th e rig h t c a n v a s is n o t ju s t b u ild in g a n y L E D s c re e n . It â€™s w h e re th e L E D p a n e l, p ro c e s sin g a n d c a m e ra s e t tin g c o m e to g e th e r th a t s tu n n in g re su lt s a re a c h ie v e d . W ith it s h ig h -e n d m a n u fa c tu rin g a n d p re m iu m p a r t s th e R O E V isu a l L E D p ro d u c t s a re p e r fe c tly su ite d fo r v ir tu a l s ta g e s a n d p ro d u c tio n s . M o re in fo rm a tio n o n : w w w .r o e v is u a l.c o m
W W W .R O E V I S U A L .C O M
RTL 102.5 POWER HITS ESTATE One of the first live events to take place following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate transforms Verona Arena into a lavish spectacle of indomitable human creativity and technical proficiency during the most difficult of times for the region. TPi’s Jacob Waite reports…
RTL 102.5 POWER HITS ESTATE
With COVID-19 spreading across the globe in March and Northern Italy’s Veneto region one of the worst hit areas, work on the fourth edition of RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate was halted abruptly. However, certain that the show must somehow go ahead, with the support of local authorities, organisers took to their sketch pads and accounting spreadsheets to devise a COVID-19 secure, technologically advanced spectacle – transforming an empty, historic, UNESCO-protected, 15,000-capacity Verona Arena into a hotbed of light, performance and pyrotechnics. For the past four years, the title of ‘Best Hit of the Summer’ has been awarded at RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate to a sold-out arena of music fans, with performances from up to 30 artists each night, from Italian acts to international stars such as OneRepublic, 30 Seconds to Mars and, more recently, Lewis Capaldi. The 2019 edition was even introduced via video message by the queen of pop, Madonna. However, amid the uncertain landscape and ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, organisers went above and beyond the call of duty to deliver something special. At the heart of RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate 2020 was a team of longstanding collaborators, including: Executive Producer, Fabio Marcantelli; Production Manager, Luigi Vallario; Show Designer, Francesco De Cave; Filming Director, Luigi Antonini; Backline Supplier, Lorenzo Mari; Broadcaster, Stefano Pretoni; Audio / Video / Lighting and Tech Crew Supplier, Emilio Lombardi; Stage Manager, Daniele Baddaria; Production Asset and Producer’s Assistant, Fiona MacKay; and Stagehand Crew Boss, Daniele Cosanni. Following the ban on mass gatherings, the decision was made to broadcast the event across two Sky channels, alongside a livestream for
live music fans in lockdown across social media. “The situation in Italy is quite problematic because there are limitations to any amount of crowding of people,” Production Manager, Luigi Vallario began, speaking to TPi over Zoom. “The limits are set at 800 people in an outdoor venue and 200 people indoors, depending on the size of the venue.” Tasked with bringing the daring vision to life was a band of RTL 102.5’s trusted technical suppliers – Rooster, Italstage, Pirotecnica Sant’Antonio, Stagehand Accademy, 3Zero2, M-Three satcom, Mokkes’ Backline Rent, Autoprompter Cristiano Grassini and Flycam Italia. However, despite the extravagance of the event, the PM recalled a tightening of the purse strings. “There were budget issues because if you don’t have a paying audience that takes a huge toll. We are blessed with suppliers who wanted to be present and helped us with cut-rate quotes, where we covered the live expenses for the crew,” he explained. “The budget was a huge obstacle because we had an incredible show to put on with half the budget of last year’s event. The venue was also an obstacle because it’s protected by UNESCO, so we had to spend money to ensure that the monument was protected and not damaged by the pyrotechnics.” ‘WE WENT IN LIKE ROMANS… EXCEPT WITH 18 TRUCKS’ Executive Producer, Fabio Marcantelli worked closely with Show Designer, Francesco De Cave, to find a solution to a seemingly impossible situation; creating a spectacle with no fans and a limited budget – a symptom of the post-lockdown ‘new normal’ events sector. Typically, the collective starts thinking about the next edition of RTL 102.5 Power Hits Estate following the conclusion of the current edition. This 42
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RTL 102.5 POWER HITS ESTATE
Designer, Francesco DeCave; SFX Tech, Erik Granzon; PM, Luigi Vallario; DoP, Luigi Antonini; Executive Producer, Fabio Marcantelli; FOH Engineer, Massimo Casagrande.
year, with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, proceedings took a very different turn, causing the duo to change tack. “The decision to hold the event was made in March, which was the peak of the Italian lockdown, so the only way it was feasible to go ahead was with no audience in the arena whatsoever,” Marcantelli commented, explaining the innovative measures taken to ensure the safety of the performing artists and technical production crew. “Every artist during rehearsals and the show would arrive at the venue at a designated time, in one way and leave a different way to stop cross contamination.” Artists were only allowed one person from the label and one from management with them. “There was also a team of 10 people, each assigned to an act, escorting the performing artists with temperatures measured regularly according to a strict schedule; once tested, the performing artists were given a bracelet to indicate the measures taken,” Marcantelli stated. He added: “The barricade surrounding the arena was completely blacked out to avoid any congregation of prospective audience members or crowding outside the venue. No artist was given a dressing room – no matter how big a star – to keep the number of people inside the arena to the bare essential at all times.” The result was a central stage on the exposed, bare sand of the UNESCO-protected Verona Arena, making way for a 360° view of the historic Roman setting – an unprecedented world first. “It’s the way the Romans would have imagined the arena,” DeCave remarked. “We went in without a stage. We provided minimum staging on the bare earth – the arena is never seen like that during the typical opera season, with performing artists on the sand. We went in like Romans… except with 18 trucks.” Having done the majority of the show’s pre-programming on an ETC Road Hog 4 at his home studio, De Cave repurposed the arena’s historic, Roman-era stone steps at the core of the show design, filling each empty seat with scenographic lighting instead of patrons – including 150 Wash
LED fixtures chosen for colours, 180 LED bars, 90 RGBW strobes, 24 fog generators, 24 flame throwers, 160 spots, and 80 beam lights. “The mood of the show, with or without an audience, is heavily dependent on audience participation. Previous editions have seen artists making entrances to the stage from different sections of the arena, which is engaging for the audience,” De Cave explained. This year, that was impossible, so the designer devised an extensive light show, which featured lights on every step of the arena, instead of the audience – providing the presence of an audience in the empty stadium. [Lumen beings, if you will.] The show was shot with 18 cameras, two flycam drones, a radio steadycam, one jimmy jib and four dolly cameras. An EVS system was put in place for the separate camera recordings and for the RVM management – all important features of the show. “We didn’t just want the stage to be viewed from the front, so we incorporated a vertical dimension, using two drones spanning the ellipse of the arena to add depth and height to proceedings,” De Cave reported. “The virtual audience could benefit from the way it was shot.” Conventional lighting was achieved by 50 Dwe LED SunRises, 12 PROLIGHTS ECL Fresnels and 20 ELC CYC 1000s. While moving lights came in the shape of 104 Bubble Bee Beams; 128 PROLIGHTS Sun Bars, 88 Sunblast FCs, 58 Stark 1000s, 14 Solars and 12 Luma 1500s. A total of 70 Robe Megapointes, 92 Tarrantulas, and 24 BMFL Blades joined 58 Light Sky Aurora Spots on the rig. “I’m always on the hunt for new fixtures, however, there are certain units I never work without – molefays and LED strobes – because they give me the possibility of making special moments to complement the artistry on stage,” De Cave said. The stage also became the main pyrotechnical launchpad. SFX Technician, Erik Granzon, and 22 technicians oversaw 270 launch positions, 350 firing units, 12km of fuse, 125 pyrotechnic batteries to colour the venue in red and white over the course of 300 hours project time and 80 days of lab preparation. “To be able to create a production which is 44
RTL 102.5 POWER HITS ESTATE
this extravagant, filling the arena with lights and pyrotechnics, using every space of the arena, was only achievable thanks to the technical proficiencies of the crew involved and the lack of audience,” De Cave acknowledged. “Despite how amazing it was to work on, we hope to never have the possibility of creating a show like this again. We can’t wait to have an audience instead of an empty arena, as soon as it is safe to do so.”
‘WE GAVE VISIBILITY TO VERONA WHEN IT NEEDED IT THE MOST’ An Allen & Heath dLive digital system and Allen & Heath S7000 consoles were used for stage direction and music broadcasting, with an Allen & Heath Avantis deployed for stage communication. The entire system was digitally connected via Allen & Heath GigaAce and FiberAce cards, and two A&H Dx32 analog input / output modules were
RTL 102.5 POWER HITS ESTATE
deployed in the arena, connected via cat 6a cable to the four Dx32 ports of the Allen & Heath DME 64 in the stage direction, which acted as an engine for the stage S7000 console, analogue inputs and outputs and an exchange of MADI signals with the OB van via the Allen & Heath superMADI board. A Sennheiser 6000 Digital series was the wireless microphone system of choice with a Sennhesier 2050 series chosen as the in-ear system, divided into two stations – one on the south side and one north side of the venue, with a double system of transmitting and receiving antennas. With no audience, there was no traditional PA. A total of 12 K-array KM112 and a pair of KM312s were used for stage monitoring; eight KR402I and four KR202I systems were chosen as monitoring for the two walkways and for the royal boxes – one north and another south. Last, but not least, eight Kh2s and four KMT18i sub K-arrays were used as diffusion during the dancer’s performance on the arena steps. Recalling an “emotional” experience of putting together the spectacle in the face of adversity, De Cave praised RTL 102.5 for allowing him to design a production, which is “probably the biggest gig in Verona Arena”, despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. “We gave international and national visibility to Verona during a time when the region needed it most; the local authorities were supportive of our vision and granted us permission to create an experience for a city devastated by the lack of tourists due to the pandemic,” Marcantelli explained, reflecting on the ambitious project. “I don’t think anyone will be granted permission to use that much pyrotechnics ever again,” he laughed. “Thankfully, we left the UNESCO-protected building standing.”
‘AN EXPERIENCE FOR LIVE MUSIC FANS IN LOCKDOWN’ Indicative of the live events industry, the production crew adapted and reinvented, exhibiting a never-say-die attitude despite the litany of COVID-19 restrictions. “RTL is an annual appointment on Italian music fans’ calendars,” Marcantelli recalled. “We didn’t want to give in to the COVID-19 restrictions. We wanted to provide an experience for music fans in lockdown.” The production was an experience which was not only important for national morale, but one proving the human creativity and proficiency of live events professionals and their ability to presenting solutions in the most difficult of times. Although broadcast as a TV show, the event maintained the tempo of a radio broadcast. “Even though we didn’t have too much time, we managed to carve out the right number of hours in order to get the right look and aesthetic of each individual performance,” De Cave concluded. “We’re all extremely pleased with the results.” TPi Photos: Elena Di Vincenzo & Luca Marenda for RTL 102.5 www.rtl.it www.roostersrl.com www.mokkes.it www.italstage.it www.pirotecnicasantantonio.com www.3zero2tv.it www.m3sat.com 46
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BEN HAMMOND, ROCK-TECH EVENTS With live touring temporarily on hold, Rock-Tech Managing Director and freelance Sound Engineer, Ben Hammond has devoted his energy into introducing The Warehouse – a brand-new production and online events facility in York. The 10m by 10m studio features adjoining audio and visual control rooms and was hand-built in association with Reel Recording Studio, offering full socially distant live online event production in a secure setting. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to diversify and accelerate our progression, creating a bespoke livestreaming studio space to cater for the growing demand for interactive experiences for music fans in lockdown,” Hammond informed TPi, speaking over Zoom. “Everything we’ve built is a permanent fixture, even when live touring returns.” Located five minutes off the A1, The Warehouse is two hours from most major UK cities. “This enables us to keep our costs down. York is a nice tourist town, which also has its advantages, especially as a lot of up-andcoming performing artists and bands can no longer afford London prices.” Rock-Tech Events initially invested in the space with a view to creating a recording studio with Dan Mizen of Reel Recording Studio. “As soon as we could become a ‘bubble’, we began building a studio from scratch,” Hammond reflected on the feat of engineering. “We ended up building a completely operational video control room upstairs, a dressing room, bathroom, kitchen, hung a huge lighting rig, video screen and spent a lot of time considering what the perfect space would be for visiting engineers, technicians and performing artists.” Considering the growing demand for livestreaming spaces, and with a warehouse full of gear gathering dust, the collective decided to transform the 10m by 10m live space into a fully functional, multipurpose livestreaming studio. As a result, the studio can work as a live space for preproduction rehearsals, being used as a control room with a sound engineer. For livestreams, attendees can take advantage of the studio audio kit – a vintage Rupert Neve console, as well as a separate video control room upstairs, complete with green screen backdrops and photoshoot apparatus. “We wanted to create a space as flexible as possible for the
modern musician with every service they could possibly need,” Hammond explained. “We’ve spent our entire lives on tour, or in recording studios, so we understand what our clientele needs and expect when they arrive at The Warehouse.” Hammond praised his fellow colleagues in getting the project off the ground. “We have a great team of people who can see the bigger picture, and thankfully, we’re all in the same boat. Shout out to Russ Baldwin, who 50
has been my main guy with Rock-Tech and has been amazing throughout this learning process.” Learning and adapting was indicative of the team’s approach to the task. “We’ve learned a lot,” Hammond stated, having tried his hand as a bricky, electrician, plumber, and roof builder for The Warehouse during the past seven months. “From a mental health perspective, it’s kept us all sane because it’s given us a purpose and something to strive for. For the touring crew, you mourn the loss of your life because it completely changes with COVID-19. I don’t think many of us have spent this much time at home before.” Recalling the abundance of touchless hand sanitiser stations, surgical gloves, face masks and antiseptic wipes, Hammond believed that the design of the space also meant that social distancing was comfortable. The audio is tied to one room, as are the SDI lines for the video screens, the PTZ cameras are remotely controlled from the video room. “The Warehouse has been designed to be as safe as possible,” Hammond said. “A band of up to six people can set up, do an eight-camera shoot with not a single person in the room with them if needs be.” One of the first projects to take place in The Warehouse was a paidfor livestream with pop act, Lawson to promote their latest release in lockdown, as well as a collaboration with Hull-based singer Calum Scott, who performed a live gig on social media, reaching over 50,000 views at the time of writing – raising awareness for Suicide Awareness Week on 10 September, with proceeds donated to the mental health charity, MIND. “We’ve done a lot of work with local bands and it’s been nice to tie in the
studio, instead of a crowdfunder to raise money for recording. Artists are able to record their material in the studio, then go next door, do a livestream launch to promote it with online tickets sales, which not only pays for the studio time but generates money for the artists and their label,” Hammond said. “Livestreaming is a viable option for the short term, offering a ticket and premium viewer experience, but I can’t see it happening when live gigs return to the masses.” From being fully booked all year with the likes of Skunk Anansie, Maisie Peters and Wet Wet Wet, juggling the complexities of being a touring freelancer and business owner, to seeing a year’s worth of work disappear over the course of a week in March was a difficult pill to swallow for Hammond. “I have stuff in the diary for April next year, but who knows if it will go ahead,” he shared. “I’ve had to adapt and diversify to survive. If I can somehow prepare and be ahead of the game, I’ll be ready for when live events return and still be able to pay my mortgage.” Embodying the “buckle down to survive” mantra, Hammond looked to the uncertain future as a small, bespoke company with a small and faithful client base. He concluded: “I’m engaging in conversations with a number of production managers about using The Warehouse as a production space, taking tentative bookings for next year, while still offering a full in-house service package.” TPi Photos: Ben Hammond www.rock-tech.events www.reelrecordingstudio.com 51
GRAHAM KAY, XTRASONIC MEDIA Making the most of lockdown, Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls FOH Engineer, Graham Kay of Xtrasonic Media transforms an old truck into a fully-functional, broadcast-quality OB truck, ideal for livestreaming, mobile studio recording and broadcast applications. “I think it’s more than 20 years old,” joked Kay, as he described how he purchased the vehicle several years ago, after it was sitting dormant in a field. “The setup in the van is really quite basic for both the audio and video, but this means it can be used for acts who might not have huge budgets.” Throughout lockdown, Kay has used the van as both a recording studio and in his hometown of Durham as well as a livestreaming control hub in collaboration with team at Vans for Bands who have converted a work shed into temporary performance space. Kay admitted that having to think in both audio and video spheres when using the OB truck for livestreams has been a challenging experience. “I’m a touring FOH Engineer first and foremost,” he stated, laughing how prior to putting together the van, he didn’t even know what an f-stop was on a camera. However, the ergonomic setup meant he could have both the audio console and video switcher right in front of him, with an extra pair of hands to balance light, if required. The multipurpose OB Truck was built as a reasonably low-cost solution for content acquisition, allowing grassroots artists to use the space and make money at the end of it.“Over the past two years, I’ve been doing a lot of work with an indie label,” he explained. “Quite often they’ll do a stage takeover of a festival; we’ll come down in the truck with eight or nine bands on the stage, so we’ll multitrack, record, do a live truck video, which gives the label hours of content at a relatively low cost.” On an average show day, Kay will embark on the journey from Durham, typically spending an entire day setting up with minimal personnel considering COVID-19 restrictions and tight budgets. “I come a day or two in advance, slowly setting up my workspace alone. After the job, I take it back home,” he explained, sharing news of an upcoming project with Leopard Rays. “I’ve got a few projects back home with the truck, recording for a few bands – technically using the truck as a recording control room, so you pull up somewhere, run the cables in and start tracking.” For the audio side of the OB truck, Kay was quick to complement his trusty Behringer X32. “It’s certainly an older desk and although it would be nice to have a newer model, it has the advantage of having integration into a DAW. This has been invaluable, otherwise I would have had to bring in another control surface.” The desk is limited to 32 channels – although there is a workaround to boost it to 48 – but for the acts that both Kay and VFB are looking at, that is a high enough channel count. “I run a rack with 48 channels of iso mic splitters in front of my digital stage rac so the truck is electrically isolated from the venue or location sound system, resulting in no hums or buzzes.” And when it works, it works well. “I don’t really know anyone who has
got a set up like this,” Kay acknowledged. “The biggest thing the truck gives you is a space to use as the control room, which is beautifully designed acoustically and with the door shut, it’s pretty well soundproofed.” The OB truck cameras comprise Sony PMW-EX1s, along with a Marshall CV502 units. Everything runs on Canford’s SDV range of HD-SDI cables from to a stage box where an eight channel SDI re-clocking unit boosts the video signals before firing them down an SDI multicore to the truck and to a Canford Musa video patch bay into a Blackmagic Design ATEM video switcher, featuring a bespoke control surface made by a small Danish firm called Skaarhoj. “It’s brilliant because it’s so compact, it can sit in front of the X32 so I’ve got both consoles in front of me,” Kay enthused. “The surface also gives me tactile buttons to do the switching in front of me, fader bar for transitions and trigger macros for opening and closing credits.” While livestreaming seems to be the way of artists connecting with their audience in lockdown until the industry can “get back to normal”, Kay hoped that people will realise how “valuable” livestreaming is and begin to take it forward in the future. Interest in the truck has also now expanded beyond the realms of live music. “I’ve been hired to livestream a Remembrance Day service for a local council,” he concluded. “I’m also in discussions to livestream a Christmas lights switch-on along with other Christmas events for the same clients.” TPi Photos: Graham Kay www.xtrasonicmedia.co.uk 52
NICOLAS POITRENAUD, HERISSON.TV After several months of lockdown, French Sound Engineer, Nicolas Poitrenaud of Herisson.tv dusted off his roadie uniform to embark on a unique broadcast project which saw Lebanese jazz trumpeter and pianist Ibrahim Maalouf bring together the ancient and the modern to deliver an innovative live performance in the age of COVID-19, with NEXO sound systems providing an immersive soundfield. Staged in the historic Arena of Nîmes, Ibrahim Maalouf’s production used mobile NEXO sound systems to create an immersive soundfield in which to record a concert for multichannel replay in the future. Poitrenaud was approached by Oleo Films to assume the role of recording engineer. “My first thought was simply to make an acoustic recording for the movie,” Poitrenaud explained, adding that after talking to Jean Lyonnet, Ibrahim Maalouf’s longtime touring Sound Engineer, he understood that the performers needed to feel the space and sensations of a live concert. “Samuel Thiebaut asked us to create an immersive soundfield, which we could record and use in multichannel installations at a future date.” Poitrenaud was aware that many performing artists are unable to perform in such a big space without monitors. “We decided to bring in a PA for the event, so I contacted TEXEN to provide the equipment, and enlisted the help of NEXO and Bertrand Billon from the Engineering Support division,” he said. “We asked them for a versatile and powerful FOH live sound system, that could easily be moved and deployed, with a minimum footprint to maintain the aesthetics of the project.” TEXEN deployed NEXO GEO M12 loudspeakers, positioning three modules on top of two MSUB18s to create a mobile FOH system consisting of groundstacks, mixed by a Yamaha CL5 digital FOH console – powered by NXAMPMk2 amplifiers equipped with Dante network cards. Poitrenaud also required a discrete and distributed monitor system for the choir and the brass band, and for this, TEXEN deployed NEXO ID24s on mic stands, installed in a circle surrounding the children’s choir. “NEXO’s new point source P8 cabinets were used as wedges and FOH for the remote stage, while P12 models were the perfect powerful main wedge for the two main performers,” Poitrenaud enthused. “NEXO offers a wide variety of sound equipment starting from mini powerful point sources to coaxial wedges and powerful line arrays that you can easily deploy. They have an interesting stacked solution in their new GEO M range, with integrated rigging and dedicated subwoofers that are fast to deploy and can move from one place to the other. Its integration within a Dante network makes it easy at the time we have to combine them with a Yamaha console.” The immersive sound field was generated for the recording and post production elements of the production and not for the empty venue. “I needed individual sound objects that I could spatialise later, which was achieved by using close-up microphone recording,” Poitrenaud said,
explaining how he utilised the sound of the empty arena. “By default, an arena has its own acoustic signature which is immersive by itself. All I had to implement was a multichannel recording system.” The decision was taken to occupy separate spaces inside the arena to capture a depth of audio assets, from the middle of the runway to the middle of the seats in the balconies, as far as the highest point of the arena, at 21m high. The primary performers – Maalouf on trumpet and François Delporte on guitar – joined forces with a choir composed of 100 children and 100 brass musicians. “The idea was to have the performers inside the historical place with fewer technical elements visible – with no stage, truss, light or visible speakers or microphone,” he said. “The space was naked.” Reflecting on his first gig since the COVID-19 crisis erupted in the region, Poitrenaud said: “I’d describe my emotions as a mix of excitement and apprehension due to the ever-changing landscape of live events.” To ensure the safety of the performing artists, management and the crew, temperature measurement, hydroalcoholic gel and face masks were ever present. The crew also adopted social distancing rules of 1.5m between performers, and catering was provided in individual food parcels, with regular disinfection of tables, chairs, toilets and all surfaces regularly. Maalouf: The Concert, The Movie was released in November, broadcast on Qwest TV, to accompany the release of Ibrahim Maalouf’s new album. “I would really like to thank Bertrand Billon from NEXO, Julien Beffara and Thomas Goeuriot from TEXEN and Jean Lyonnet,” Poitrenaud concluded. “They were all deeply involved in the project.” TPi Photos: NEXO www.herisson.tv www.nexo-sa.com 53
FUTURE INSIGHTS The latest product releases and announcements.
CHRISTIE The CounterAct line of commercial UV disinfection products uses Christie’s parent company, Ushio’s patented narrowband filtered Care222 excimer lamps that emit far-UVC 222nm light – one of few UV technologies shown to continuously and significantly reduce pathogens, such as COVID-19, that may also be used while people are present, when used in accordance with specified parameters. Based on technology licenced from Columbia University, the Care222 far-UVC, mercuryfree excimer lamp has a proprietary short pass filter that prevents the emission of longer wavelengths of UV light that are capable of penetrating human skin and eyes. www.christiedigital.com/commercial-uv-disinfection
ETC Remote control and contactless features of fos/4 Fresnel include wireless communication using City Theatrical’s Multiverse technology and contactless programming using ETC’s Set Light app via NFC from a mobile device. fos/4 Fresnels are available in two arrays – Lustr X8 for the full gamut of colour mixing, and Daylight HDR for bright whites. Both arrays include deep red LEDs for the rendering of skin tones, fabrics, and scenery of any fixture on the market. The fos/4 Fresnel outputs up to 9,700 lumens. www.studio.etcconnect.com
HIGH END SYSTEMS HPU hardware for Hog 4 replaces both the DMX Processor 8000 (DP8K) unit and the Rack Hog 4 in a modern, 2U rack mounted unit which can be run in either Console mode or in Processor mode with a 64 universe capacity. A new patching structure allows users to patch to internal universes, which then get mapped to outputs on consoles, DP8Ks, Widgets and Gadget II units, sACN and/or ArtNet. The new Hog 4 OS v3.14 Software includes a new patching structure which allows users to patch to internal universes, which then get mapped to outputs on consoles, DP8Ks, Widgets and Gadget II units, sACN and/or ArtNet. Individual patch universes may be mapped to multiple outputs as needed and can be moved from one output to another without universe cloning. www.highend.com
JBL PROFESSIONAL The IRX115S leverages more than 70 years of JBL speaker innovation to deliver fidelity, range and output. Inside, a 15in woofer with 3in voicecoil produces bass coverage from 35 Hz to 147 Hz (-10 dB); a 1,300W amplifier protects components while ensuring acoustic performance. Selectable 80Hz, 100Hz and 120Hz crossover points smooth out system response; a tuned port optimises response and reduces woofer noise. A durable MDF enclosure features a tight-gauge, reinforced honeycomb grille that offers rugged protection without compromising acoustic performance. A built-in pole mount expands system configuration options. Transport is easy, thanks to thoughtfully designed ergonomic handles. And, like every JBL product, the IRX115S undergoes JBLâ€™s legendary 100hour stress test to ensure itâ€™ll perform flawlessly in real-world conditions. www.jblpro.com
L-ACOUSTICS & JERRY HARVEY AUDIO The newly designed Contour XO in-ear monitor brings listeners inside the music with 10 balanced armature drivers and three-way crossover in a quad low, dual mid, and quad high configuration. Contour XO offers control of the low end with bass adjustment of up to 15dB above flat response. Artists, musicians, sound professionals, and audiophiles alike will appreciate the individual care and attention to detail transmitted by the limited-edition premium in-ear audio solution, Contour XO. www.l-acoustics.com www.jhaudio.com
MEYER SOUND Available as a free app for Apple iPad, Spacemap Go can transform the thousands of Meyer Sound GALAXY Network Platform processors in the field into powerful, flexible and user-friendly tools for spatial sound design and mixing. Spacemap Go works with multiple GALAXY processors, and it can be controlled by a single iPad or with multiple iPads to provide a larger and more varied control surface, or to allow simultaneous control by multiple users. Spacemap Go can be implemented with a free update to GALAXY firmware and Compass control software. Users with existing GALAXY inventory need only supply one or more iPads as appropriate for the application. www.meyersound.com
SHURE DuraPlex boasts Shure’s first IP57 certification rating, keeping dirt, dust, water, and perspiration from upstaging the audio. The form factor features the cable durability of TwinPlex. DuraPlex consists of the DL4 Omnidirectional Waterproof Lavalier Microphone and the DH5 Omnidirectional Waterproof Headset Microphone. The IP57 rating and cable durability of DuraPlex enhances the market tier of audio performance and ruggedness. The MEMs element yields consistent and neutral sound quality with low self-noise for vocal clarity in multiple environments. www.shure.com
PANASONIC The PT-RQ35K (4K) and PT-RZ34K (WUXGA) are designed to visually thrill visitors to museums, exhibitions, theme parks and events, and are ideal for projection mapping. Its unrivalled reliability and Quiet Mode (46dB) also make it perfect for use at conferences and in auditoriums. The combination of 30,500lm exceptional brightness, 4K resolution with Quad Pixel Drive and an all-new laser engine create immersive images that set a new benchmark for the projector class. Only Panasonic uses 2-Axis Pixel-Shifting technology to create the clearest and most detailed images of 3,840 by 2,400 pixels or 4K/16:10) www.business.panasonic.co.uk/visual-system/pt-rq35k
WAVES AUDIO Waves V12 adds exciting new features to Waves’ entire massive catalog of plug-ins. This includes the ability to resize Waves plug-ins, highly requested by Waves users. Other new additions include a new accelerated preset search engine, sharp retina-ready graphics, and plugins added to select premium bundles. Owners of Waves’ premium Platinum, Horizon and Diamond bundles who update their bundles to V12 get three bonus plugins added to their bundle without extra charge: LoAir, Submarine, and the Smack Attack transient shaper. www.waves.com/v12
POWER and ELEGANCE finally TOGETHER With an output up to 55,000 lumens, the Synergy 7 Profile has become â€œthe Stallionâ€? in our team of moving heads. Thanks to a new range of stunning effects, an additional ultra-silent mode and numerous brand new features, Synergy 7 offers an incredible versatility and freedom of use, granting the worldwide acknowledged high light quality and perfect profiling system of the Synergy family.
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PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
CULTURE RECOVERY FUND PSA General Manager, Andy Lenthall delves into the murky world of funding and grant distribution...
Rejection; it’s a hard thing to take. It’s also a hard thing to deliver too; we like to say ‘yes’, we hate saying ‘no’, ‘probably’ isn’t too much help and a ‘thank you’ goes a long way. One of our friends from a grant-giving organisation (not the Arts Council) was helping us with some advice on designing application processes. It turns out that we’d done a good job, but then he raised the small matter of how to write to unsuccessful applicants – something we hadn’t really considered. We like to say ‘yes’ so much that we hadn’t considered the best way to say ‘no’. For every successful Culture Recovery Fund applicant (CRF), there seems to be someone who didn’t get a grant – a statistic evidenced by our survey of applicants. We suspect the data will settle at 52%/48% in favour of success – such a divisive majority. With very little detail given to those that didn’t succeed in their application, the temptation is to simply compare one company to another; one got a grant, one didn’t – similar
companies, competitors that are now sharing an uneven playing field. Could the same not be said for those that applied for, say, a CBILS loan, a bounceback loan or other support? Nothing is given because someone else got it; it’s based on applications matching predetermined criteria. To make a sound judgement on how fair the Culture Recovery Fund grant distribution was would require a little more detail about the applications. Decisions were based on applications rather than comparisons between companies. The least people deserve is a wider explanation of common reasons for rejection. One very specific reason for the fund’s existence was to help organisations that, after exhausting all options, were at risk of failure before April 2021. If, for example, you hadn’t applied for CBILS, there would have to be a very good reason. If you had and had been turned down, there was a reason to apply. Other measures might include redundancies. The grants 58
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
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given have protected jobs, but they are the roles required to keep an organisation ticking over, many had already made redundancies. There is frustration for those that, by borrowing for survival, you have missed out on a grant. That said, where loans eventually attract interest, grants will eventually attract tax. Grants are conditional. Culture Recovery Fund grant aid will, as defined by their criteria, be gone a few short weeks into the next financial year, and they will need to be spent in the ways specified on application. Loaned money isn’t taxable. Once received, there’s a lot more flexibility in how an organisation allocates it. If an applicant had means to survive until April 2021, perhaps beyond, their application would have been rejected. Then there was the tweet; social media strikes again. Ask the wrong question and you’ll get the wrong answer. It was a criticism levelled at the CRF Application process. The same goes for Twitter; a brief question on whether light and sound companies and others in the ‘supply chain (?)’ qualify is likely to receive a ‘no’ in response. As we said throughout the application window, the only way to know either way was to apply. In fact, the only way to really know was to put in a good application. It’s why the PSA invested in advice for applicants, knowing that we would have more of a case in the event of 100% rejection. We certainly had our reservations, but we knew that flooding the system with bad applications wouldn’t help. We wonder if some took
PSA: THE BIGGER PICTURE
“We had to cancel our live audio training courses in March. The CRG is a hugely welcome lifeline enabling us to develop new online courses for COVID-19 safe delivery in January 2021. For more information, visit our new online training website: britanniarowtraining.com”
Mike Lowe Managing Director, Britannia Row Productions Training
“The award from the CRF is an incredibly welcome lifeline that will allow us to continue supporting our diverse customer base including individuals, educational establishments, amateurs and pro users, who all rely on our services, as they strive to adapt, create, perform and entertain during these highly challenging times.”
Andrew Bartlett General Manager, Enlightened
that approach? There was nothing to stop people doing that. One thing is certain, a more useful response from Arts Council England’s Twitterer in Chief would have been ‘possibly’. Comparisons between success and failure weren’t restricted to like-forlike organisations. A widely circulated headline about a drag act receiving a six-figure grant, double that of their last declared annual turnover. The story beyond the headline almost gave balance. More detail of the way the grant will be spent was sketchy but it certainly involved performances that would involve employing people; trickle down, if you like. Yes, that often-used phrase that alleviates the jealousy of the rich getting richer and the middle class getting taxed; in the context of the CRF, we may well get to feel the effects, perhaps not for some of the larger organisations that didn’t get a grant, but by self-employed techs. Another
“STS is very grateful to Arts Council England for the CRF grant. The funding helps the business keep all full-time staff employed and covers critical costs until the end of March 2021. The support and guidance provided by the PSA and Andy Lenthall was invaluable in helping STS and will not be forgotten. STS wishes more companies would have been helped in the same way at this critical time.” Paul Collis Director, STS Touring Productions
useful insight would be the activity enabled by the grants. Grassroots music venues are keen to use the help they received to enable activity rather than dormancy. Aside from a frustrating marginal majority of successes for those in our direct universe, there are more positives to be drawn from a few hundred million quid floating around our economic micro climate. Leave it to journalists to scour the list of recipients for shock headlines; you might be better off looking for local opportunities to earn. In summary, the only like-for-like comparison to make is application vs. application. That kind of detail is not currently available but, at the end of the day, it’s taxpayers’ money so you might consider a request under the Freedom of Information Act. We have. TPi www.psa.org.uk 60
Building on NEXOâ€™s acclaimed expertise in compact, high output, point source loudspeakers, the P+ Series delivers pristine, full-range sound at even greater Sound Pressure Levels, along with unparalleled versatility, thanks to an ingenious system for varying HF coverage patterns.
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CT UK restructures senior management positions; Green Hippo’s names WholeStage as Latin America and Caribbean dealer; HOLOPLOT’s Miguel Hadelich; iMAG Displays invests in UK’s first Brompton Hydra; Jerry Cleary, Edwin Higgins and Mark Davies establish JEM LIVE; Lightico MD, Mark Garrett; Meyer Sound’s Katrin Rawks; Meyer Sound’s Ianina Canalis; PROLIGHTS appoints David Ferraz (right) as Marketing Manager; Prolyte welcomes the All Creation team as a distributor in Japan.
inMusic has acquired ArKaos. Outgoing MD and Founder of ArKaos, Agnes Wojewoda said: “We have successfully closed the acquisition of ArKaos. We are very excited and happy about this new chapter. The integration to inMusic Brands creates an amazing perspective for ArKaos to continue to develop and meet with our customers’ expectations.” Creative Technology (CT) UK has introduced changes to the UK Senior Management structure. Nick Askew will step into the role of Head of Corporate Events and will have responsibility for CT UK’s corporate projects. Matt Eve is named new Commercial Director, tasked with the development and alignment of sales and marketing across CT. Dan Burgess has moved into the creative services division as Head of Creative Services and Will Case is taking on the role of Director of Innovation. CT UK’s Managing Director, Mark Elliott said: “We are pleased to see on-site event work picking up in selected markets as well as virtual and remote production that we moved into heavily over the spring and summer continuing to progress. Some really hard and challenging work has been
done here over the past months where our ability to innovate and offer new solutions has been accelerated to accommodate a quickly evolving and ever-changing landscape.” Eastern Acoustic Works has welcomed DirectLink Marketing as representative of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and the El Paso, Texas area. “We are honoured to have EAW as part of its esteemed line card,” said President for EAW, TJ Smith. “Principal Dave Larsen has a deep understanding of his customer base and the market, and we look forward to better serving this expansive territory.” Green Hippo has welcomed two new distribution specialists to its growing international sales network – Corsair Solutions in Australia and New Zealand and Wholestage in Latin America and the Caribbean. Corsair Solutions Managing Director, Mark Lampard said: “Green Hippo naturally provides us with an exciting new entry into the live production and entertainment industries which will also allow us to cross-promote some of our other brands.” 62
www.interfacio.com • +44 208 986 5002
Wholestage CEO Luis Duque added: “We welcome Green Hippo with great enthusiasm – their range will undoubtedly reinforce our premium portfolio of comprehensive solutions.” HOLOPLOT has brought on board Miguel Hadelich as the new Head of US Operations. Hadelich said: “The technology developed by HOLOPLOT is the most innovative and groundbreaking thing I have seen in pro audio for many years. It is a great honour for me to be the main driving force behind the targeted growth of this still young company in the US market.” iMAG Displays has invested in the UK’s first Brompton Technology Hydra system. “We know this may look like an odd time to be making a major investment,” said iMAG Founder and Technical Director, Alex Strachan. “However, it now gives us the opportunity to open up new avenues of business and to allow fellow companies in the LED rental sector to hire our Hydra and update their screens.” Jerry Cleary, Edwin Higgins and Mark Davies have joined forces to launch a new event production company, JEM LIVE. “We wanted to create a company which was fluent in virtual event technologies while not forgetting the importance of more classic elements of event production,” explained Davies. “High-quality design, lighting, sound and staging remain at the heart of live events, but in the COVID-19 era, we have to be willing to integrate virtual elements.” John Jones has joined the LIFTKET family as the agent for the UK and Ireland. The recruit has gained extensive experience in the hoist industry and has held various senior positions during his career and worked with several hoist manufacturers as the former Managing Director of Pfaff and Lift Turn Move. Yorkshire-based Lightico is reportedly weeks away from research to further prove its patented lights – CleanLight – can kill SARS-CoV 2 – the virus that causes COVID-19. Lightico Managing Director, Mark Garrett said: “CleanLight uses LED lighting panels that harness the power of Titanium Dioxide (Ti02) to clean the air of microbes, toxins and odours. Our Ti02
coated LED lighting panels generate photocatalytic oxidation which neutralises airborne pathogens in a 7.5m2 area. Thus, instantly creating an antimicrobial, anti-toxin, and anti-odour zone.” Meyer Sound has revealed the promotion of Katrin Rawks to Director of Loudspeaker Engineering and the hiring of Ianina Canalis as Application Architect, Spatial Audio Specialist. “It’s inspiring to be surrounded by people who are extremely knowledgeable and who are as enthusiastic about what they do as I am,” Rawks commented. “It is wonderful to be part of the Spacemap Go global development team,” Canalis added. “Each member comes with a spectacular background, which enhances the exchanges among us. We are refining this software together, continually improving the tool as we strive to increase the creative possibilities.” Optocore has appointed CMI as new Australian distributors. CMI CEO, Peter Trojkovic commented: “With many fibre-compatible solutions in CMI’s portfolio, this marks a strategic move by the Audio Division to position CMI as a one-stop solution for performance, broadcast and commercial audio networking. We look forward to working closely with Optocore’s solution engineers in providing time critical, redundant, audio and control infrastructure.” PROLIGHTS has strengthened its reach in Malaysia and Singapore, thanks to a new distribution agreement with Acoustic & Lighting Systems. “We wanted to reinforce our presence in Asia, and Acoustic & Lighting Systems are the result of our ambition,” said Paolo Albani, International Sales Manager for PROLIGHTS. “Eugene and his team are very knowledgeable and respected, with a wide customer network. We couldn’t be more excited to have them as our distributors.” David Ferraz also joins PROLIGHTS as Marketing Manager. “I have worked in different areas of the entertainment lighting market – my career started in Technical Support and then worked in Business Development,
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Prolyte partners SCENA in Russia; Sound light and system (SLS) joins Prolyte’s authorised dealer network; Qdos Event Hire Regional Manager in Glasgow, Jonathan Reid; QSC APAC Business Development Manager, Paul Lee; Riedel’s Peter Glättli; VYV’s Chet Miller; ROE Visual US invests in Brompton Hydra; The new-look Starmer Group.
and I now have the opportunity to solidify the company’s international presence and how it communicates with users,” said Ferraz. Prolyte has welcomed the arrival of three new additions to the company’s authorised dealer network – All Creation in Japan, Sound light and system (SLS) in Portugal and SCENA in Russia. All Creation CEO, Koichi Okajima commented: “Partnering with Prolyte helps us reduce cost; the costs in all perspectives.” SLS CEO, Rui Nunes stated: “Prolyte has always offered us an excellent, tech-savvy product line, and we’re more than excited to be an official distributor of the Prolyte family. We at SLS look forward to working with Prolyte to create amazing things.” SCENA’s Nikita Safonov added: “Together we can formulate a more inclusive development of products and services according to your demand. In these uncertain times, Prolyte and SCENA are your reliable partners for your valuable business.” Qdos Event Hire has opened an office in Glasgow with Jonathan Reid appointed as Regional Manager. Reid said: “We’ve hit the ground running with both the reception and comments from clients being exceptional. I think Qdos has a successful future ahead of it serving events in Scotland.” Paul Lee has joined QSC as APAC Business Development Manager – Systems. “I have always observed the large impact QSC has had on the market over the past several years,” said Lee. “I am very excited to join this innovative team and look forward to working with the systems partners and end users as we continue to proliferate the Q-SYS Ecosystem throughout the APAC region.” Riedel Communications has promoted Peter Glättli to Director of Research and Development. “It’s a joy to be associated with a company like Riedel, filled with people who are creative, innovative, courageous, and willing to take risks,” Glättli added. “With this kind of commitment, we are guaranteed to making a difference in the marketplace and for our customers.” ROE Visual US has received its purchase of a Brompton Technology Hydra system for its West Coast office in Chatsworth, Los Angeles. “When we saw the Brompton Dynamic Calibration system in prototype form at LDI last year, we knew it was going to be a game changer, so we immediately placed orders to ensure that we would benefit from this technology as soon as it became available to the market,” said Frank Montero, General Manager of ROE Visual US. Birmingham-based AV rental company, Sound, Light & Laser FX has officially adopted SLLFX as its trading name. SLLFX Managing Director, Adam Turbill commented: “We feel like a very different company than we did at the start of the year. With the new services and expanded range of AV equipment, it is the perfect time to start fresh and rebrand.” TEG has detailed a multi-year strategic alliance with Empire Touring to co-promote a huge slate of tours and events across Australia. Under the agreement, TEG will lend its financial support, marketing and expertise in promotion and analytics to boost Empire Touring’s business. Financial terms were not disclosed. TEG Chief Executive, Geoff Jones said: “TEG has a proud track record of supporting Australian artists and we are thrilled to be working with Marc and Isobel to deliver more festivals and concerts to Australian audiences.” Hans Stamer, co-founder of the Stamer Group, the parent company of HK Audio and Hughes & Kettner brands, is departing after more than 40 years as Managing Director and CEO, paving the way for the new management team. Lothar Stamer, brother of Hans Stamer and second co-founder of the Stamer Group, remains as Managing Director. Thomas Bittel is appointed as secondary Managing Director and new CEO of the Stamer Group. Holger Kartes, Chief Technical Officer is now responsible for the Manufacturing and Development divisions. While the Sales and Marketing division is led by Chief Sales Officer, Christian Jordan. Chet Miller has joined VYV Corporation as a Photon Specialist. “Joining the US team for VYV is a dream. Getting a chance to work with Drew so closely and really help build the American arm is thrilling. VYV is that company that is a step beyond the next level, whose tech is almost indistinguishable from magic,” Miller said. “It feels great to really hit the ground running and already we’re making some beautiful things.” TPi www.productionfutures.co.uk/job-opportunities
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LOUD SOUND’S STEVE REYNOLDS & PROPER PRODUCTIONS’ MARK WARD As the #TheSurvivalTour rolls into Manchester’s AO Arena, TPi checks in with the two lead organisers of the 1,500km cycle mission, all in the name of Backup.
The Survival Tour arrives at the AO Arena, Manchester.
“It was my daft idea,” laughed Steve Reynolds, Director of Loud Sound, as The Survival Tour rolled into Manchester’s AO Arena as part of their epic 1,500km cycle around England. Reynolds and his colleague, Mike Trasmundi, along with the team from Proper Productions – Mark Ward, Harry Ford and Tyler Cole-Holmes – had set out from Newcastle, each on two wheels, with the goal of visiting a number of iconic venues across the UK to raise awareness of the plight of the 600,000-plus workers in the UK events industry as part of the #WeMakeEvents campaign, to raise funds for Backup. “After the other #WeMakeEvents demonstrations we attended in London, I had this urge to get around and see what state the venues were in and meet the people in other parts of the UK,” explained Reynolds. “Sadly, it’s even been hard to meet up with many of the venue owners or operators because so many have been completely mothballed through this time.” Ward interjected: “It’s an industry in absolute peril. We wanted to focus on the venues because they are so important to the different communities. In each city there are venues that people hold close to their heart and form part of the fabric of our society.” Along with raising awareness for the industry, the group of riders were also raising money for Backup. “We got involved with #WeMakeEvents months ago, and when they then linked up with Backup, it was the natural decision to raise money for them,” stated
Ward. “The money we’re helping generate will be allocated to those struggling during this time.” The money raised will provide help to employees, freelancers and their families suffering in the entertainment sector, and kick off ‘RESTART’ – the next phase of the #WeMakeEvents campaign. “We’ve met many people who have consistently told us about the dire straits that they and their colleagues are in,” concluded Reynolds. “Most of our friends and colleagues work in this industry; we know their families and they are suffering. In fact, it’s like a big extended family, and we couldn’t stand by and let it just disappear without trying to help, raise awareness for their plight and fundraise.” Ward added: “While some of the venues have received help from the Culture Recovery Fund, the vast majority of the supply chain has missed out on this. These are the people working in the communities we have passed through. The fact that so many suppliers have missed out shows the size of the industry and the help that is still required. We all want the industry to bounce back quickly once we can reopen, however we need to retain the experience and knowledge inside our industry to allow this to happen.” Since completing the ride, the team raised over £25,000. The donation link is still active and can be found at: www.we-make-events.raisely.com/t/thesurvivaltour TPi 66
SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY FROM 1987 SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY THROUGH 2020 SUPPORTING THE INDUSTRY IN 2021 AND BEYOND
#Mar tinEME A